U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told an agriculture conference on Wednesday that he and President Donald Trump support the country’s biofuels policy, and that any reports to the contrary are “fake news.” Perdue made the comments a day after Trump hosted a meeting with Cabinet officials and senators to discuss potential changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard to help refiners who say they are struggling under the program. The RFS requires refiners to blend biofuels like corn-based ethanol into the nation’s fuel.
That meeting yielded no deal. “I can tell you Trump stands with corn farmers, biofuel farmers and the RFS,” Perdue told an audience at the Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California, according to a recording heard by Reuters. “I stand with him and with you.” He said media reports that the administration does not support the RFS are “fake news.” “I will not support any policy that diminishes demand, undermines the RFS or is harmful to agricultural producers,” Perdue said. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that Perdue made the comments.Trump’s meeting on Tuesday reflected rising concern in the White House over the current state of the RFS, which has increasingly divided two of Trump’s most important constituencies: the energy industry and rural farmers.