Big Oil Donations Fueling Governors’ Push For Renewable Fuel Standard Suspension?

New Research Shows Governors Requesting Suspension Took In Over $1.2 Million In Oil Contributions; Pausing RFS Would Contradict Trump’s Promises To Help Farmers

New research released today by Western Values Project shows the oil and gas industry has given over $1.2 million in campaign donations to the five governors from oil states that are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In total, five governors sent two letters asking the EPA to waive refineries’ obligations to comply with the RFS, which requires refineries to add plant-based biofuels such as corn ethanol and biodiesel from soybeans into the nation’s motor fuels. 

“This is another desperate hail Mary by oily politicians to bail out big oil corporations, and these campaign donations prove it,” said Jayson O’Neill, Director of Western Values Project. “Trump’s EPA shouldn’t hand out favors to corporate special interests and campaign donors at the expense of our environment and the American farmers who are already reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing trade wars.”  

Suspending the RFS would greatly hurt corn-producing states, contradicting President Trump’s frequent claims that he “loves and respects” farmers and that farmers are “great patriots.” Just last October, Trump’s EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue boasted about the administration’s RFS program, with Perdue even calling Trump a “champion for our nation’s farmers and rural America.” 

Western Values Project, an Accountable.US project focused on public lands conservation and accountability, tallied that the oil and gas industry has given a total of $1,225,516 in donations to Governor Greg Abbot of Texas, Governor Gary Herbert of Utah, Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, and Governor Mark Gordon of Wyoming– the five governors who are seeking a suspension of the RFS by the Trump administration. 

EPA Administrator Wheeler, a former lobbyist, has yet to respond to the request but the Trump administration has been desperately trying to bail out big oil. To date, the administration has indefinitely suspended environmental protections, begun cutting royalty rates, and is trying to divert funds from Native American tribes after Congress rightfully rejected the administration’s taxpayer-funded carveout for the boom-bust industry.

Governors Requesting The Suspension Of The RFS Took $1,225,515.57 In Oil Contributions Since 2010

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards Received $141,250 From Oil And Gas Companies Since 2013. Oil companies have donated $141,250 to John Bel Edwards since 2013. [, accessed 04/16/20]

Texas Governor Greg Abbott Received $817,464.91 From Oil And Gas Companies Since 2010. Oil companies have given Greg Abbott $817,464.91 since 2010. [, accessed 04/16/20]

Utah Governor Gary Herbert Received $160,300 Oil And Gas Companies Since 2010. Since 2010, oil and gas companies have donated $160,300 to Gary Herbert. [, accessed 04/16/20]

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt Received $70,000.66 From Oil And Gas Companies Since 2010. Kevin Stitt has gotten $70,000.66 in donations from oil and gas companies. [, accessed 04/16/20]

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon Received $36,500 From Oil And Gas Companies Since 2010. Since 2010, oil companies have given Mark Gordon $36,500. [, accessed 04/16/20]

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