Domestically manufactured biofuels are important to the future of the nation. The Hawkeye State is one of our country's principal producers of ethanol and biodiesel. Consequently, the health of the biofuels industry is vital to the economic prosperity of Iowa.
With that in mind, Sen. Charles Grassley has pressed the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the transparency of the Renewable Identification Number market. Iowa's Republican senior senator is insisting that the agency provide assurances that the market is not being compromised to profit Wall Street banks and other financial institutions.
Grassley has sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy addressing this issue.
"I'm concerned about recent reports of manipulation or exploitation of the RIN market by non-obligated parties, including financial institutions," Grassley wrote in part. "Allegations that the opaqueness of this market is leading to abuse and exploitation by individuals or firms simply to generate profits at the expense of refiners, other obligated parties and perhaps consumers is troubling."
Grassley wants to make certain that enough is being done by the EPA to guarantee that market participants are being protected against "fraud, manipulation and abusive trading practices."
This issue is complicated. It may be understood in detail primarily by people close to the biofuels world. Even so, it has broad financial ramifications. Keeping this market appropriately competitive is consistent with properly functioning capitalism and should be of concern not only to Iowans engaged in producing biofuels, but to all Americans.
The Messenger applauds Grassley for taking the lead in holding the EPA's feet to the fire on this matter. He has a well-deserved reputation for keeping bureaucrats and other politicians focused on what is good for the public rather than what may please the lobbyists representing powerful financial interests.