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ICYMI: Press Coverage of Sen. Cruz’s Town Hall at Philadelphia Energy Solutions

Participates in Q&A discussion with refinery workers; tours facility

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last week participated in a town hall at Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the largest refinery on the East Coast, which recently filed bankruptcy as a result of skyrocketing RINs costs associated with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. There, he discussed his priorities for a win-win solution that will allow corn farmers to sell even more corn and protecting the thousands of jobs that are critical to the energy industry – from Texas to Pennsylvania.

Several news outlets covered the town hall. Selected news coverage below:

Bloomberg: Ted Cruz Calls for Easing Renewable-Fuel Rules to Save Refiner Jobs
“On Wednesday, the largest East Coast refinery acted as the backdrop for a stump-like speech by former Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz. The Texas Republican blamed ethanol mandates for the company’s bankruptcy, saying the Renewable Fuel Standard threatens jobs and even harms U.S. energy security. ‘When Harvey hit Texas, the East Coast refiners stepped up and helped fill that need,’ Cruz said. ‘This is about good jobs, good union jobs that provide for your families.’ PES isn’t the only refiner that wants to overhaul the EPA’s biofuels program, but its recent bankruptcy has jumpstarted congressional efforts to stem compliance costs. Cruz has called for a 10-cent cap on the cost of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), just a fraction of their value, while insisting that such a change wouldn’t hurt corn growers. ‘The solutions we put on the table will be a tremendous win for the refinery workers and a tremendous win for the corn farmers,’ Cruz said in an interview with Bloomberg. ‘The most straight-forward solution is for the administration to cap the price of RINs.’”

Dallas Morning News: At Bankrupt Philadelphia refinery, Ted Cruz Blasts Ethanol Mandate, Champions Blue Collar Workers
“Philadelphia Energy Solutions is the largest refinery complex on the East Coast, with a capacity of 335,000 barrels of crude oil per day and 1,100 workers. The company cited high costs related to the mandates when it filed bankruptcy a month ago. Cruz noted that PES spent just $10 million complying with the mandate just a few years ago. Last year, the company spent $218 million. ‘That is more than double the payroll of the men and women sitting here. How many of you think the refinery should be wasting money on government license that don't create a damn thing, rather than creating jobs and paying your salaries?’ Cruz said, arguing that hundreds of thousands of jobs at Texas refineries are also at risk.” 

Houston Chronicle: Cruz Tells Refinery Workers That Ethanol Program is Broken
“Sen. Ted Cruz, in a speech to refinery workers here Wednesday, said federal ethanol rules were making "Wall Street speculators and giant integrated companies" a "windfall" while small refineries struggle. ‘The speculators can go speculate somewhere else,’ Cruz said. ‘This is about jobs, good jobs that provide for your families. They are at risk from a broken regulatory system that needs to be fixed.’ The Texas senator's visit to Philadelphia comes as Washington remains divided on whether to reform an ethanol mandate that analysts say has benefited some large oil companies and biofuel producers but has hurt smaller refineries. The refinery Cruz visited Wednesday is owned by Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, blaming the federal mandate that requires ethanol be blended into the nation's fuel supply for driving up their costs. Many refiners, such as the one in Philadelphia, don't blend ethanol into the gasoline. Under federal rules, they must buy blending credits instead, but cost of these credits have jumped in recent years. The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery is the largest on the East Coast. In a tent set up on the grounds, Cruz spoke to hundreds of workers still dressed in coveralls. ‘If you stand with the working men and women then stand up and fix this broken RIN system,’ Cruz said, referring to the biofuels credits many refineries buy instead of blending ethanol into their gasoline. Greg Gatta, the CEO of the refining company, urged government action on what he was not ‘just another issue’ in Washington but about a ‘region's livelihood.’ Since a meeting with President Donald Trump last year, Cruz has been tried to negotiate a deal with Midwestern senators to reduce the cost of biofuel credits.”

Washington Examiner: Ted Cruz Pits Refinery Workers Against Wall Street to Fix ‘Broken’ Ethanol Mandate
“Sen. Ted Cruz wants refiners and corn farmers to stand together to overhaul the nation's ethanol mandate by pitting them against Wall Street speculators who he said are getting rich off the program that is killing jobs. ‘The ones that would be put out of business are the speculators, who can go and speculate on something else,’ the Texas Republican said at a Wednesday rally in Philadelphia, at the largest refinery on the East Coast. The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery filed for bankruptcy protection recently, blaming the Environmental Protection Agency's Renewable Fuel Standard for the financial lapse. The RFS requires refiners to blend corn ethanol at enormous cost, because of the millions of dollars they must pay for renewable identification number credits, or RINs, which Cruz called a unfair "tax" on the American refinery worker. Cruz said the system is not the fault of the corn farmer who produces the commodity to make ethanol. Nor is it the fault of the refinery industry, which must comply with the program by purchasing RINs. Instead, he blamed traders who have artificially driven up the cost of RINs by speculating on the certificates as another commodity to be bought, sold and traded. ‘Here's the crazy thing,’ Cruz said. ‘Of that $218 million you all paid for RINs, you know how much of that ended up in the pockets of Iowa corn farmers? None. The money doesn't go to the corn farmer, and it doesn't go to the ethanol producer. Instead, billions are being made by Wall Street speculators and giant integrated companies that are earning a windfall on this broken regulatory system.’ Cruz said he is not calling for ‘altering the heart of the RFS,’ but to fix the ‘broken RIN system,’ which is not doing what it was intended to do, but instead is driving up costs for refineries that support tens of thousands of jobs in communities such as Philadelphia.”