The following are Senator Ernst’s opening remarks:

“During today’s meeting, Senator Grassley and I made clear that we will not support anything that will harm the 88,000 farms in Iowa or put the 50,000 jobs tied to the renewable fuels industry across my state in jeopardy.

“In fact, yesterday a report released confirmed what many across the Midwest already know: a strong and robust RFS encourages consumer choice, investment, and innovation; all while reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

“In Iowa alone, the renewable fuels industry and RFS creates $2.4 billion in income and supports almost 50,000 jobs.

“The ‘RINs reform and the export RINs concept’ plans that my colleagues have proposed will undermine the 15 billion gallon volume obligation for ethanol and have a profound impact on biodiesel production. The bottom line is that these changes will come at the expense of farmers in Iowa and across the Heartland.

“Iowans won’t have the wool pulled over their eyes, and we made this very clear in today’s meeting.

“I do agree with Senator Grassley that protecting domestic energy production does not need to result in hurting biofuels production.

“It’s clear that this is going to be a very tough road ahead. However, Senator Grassley and I will continue working tirelessly to protect and defend the RFS which helps grow our economy.

“Also, I wanted to quickly say that I am thrilled to see Bill Northey’s confirmation in the Senate. His long-overdue confirmation to this essential role within the USDA is great news for our state and our country.

“His experience as a farmer and as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture makes him the ideal candidate. I’m glad to see my colleagues recognized what folks in Iowa already know: Bill Northey knows agriculture. He has worked with diligence and dedication to help farmers and ranchers across Iowa, and will continue to serve as a powerful voice for agriculture and conservation across the country."