Is Kevin Cramer The Gatekeeper To Trump On Energy Policy?


North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer’s new position as a policy adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump has made a lot of headlines. But some of the advice Cramer is giving Trump on energy issues has rankled some Republicans.

Which isn’t surprising. Even among Republicans there are differing views on energy. What is surprising is how these Republicans are going about trying to change Trump’s mind.

Former Senators Rick Santorum and Jim Talent, two co-chairmen of Americans for Energy Security and Innovation, wrote Cramer a letter asking him to take back his advice to trump on rolling back the Renewable Fuel Standard:

North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer has been advising Trump on energy policy since the beginning of May and recently told Bloomberg News he’s recommended that the candidate “get rid of the [RFS] in 2022” if he’s elected president.

Cramer said he believes the goals of the federal ethanol mandate have already been met and the next president should acknowledge that “free markets are free markets.”

But in a letter to Cramer sent by Santorum and former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent on Wednesday, the two lawmakers claim the RFS “remains a vital bulwark for U.S. energy security against foreign manipulation.”

The RFS, for those of you who don’t know, is a federal policy requiring that refiners blend a certain level of “renewable fuels” (read: ethanol) into our transportation fuel. Which is why it’s almost impossible to find fuel without at least some ethanol in it these days.

Renewable fuel producers, and the people who grow crops like corn which are used in fuels like ethanol, love the RFS. It’s essentially a federal mandate to buy their products.

Refiners don’t like the RFS for that same reason.

Whichever side of the issue you come down on, what’s interesting is that Santorum and Talent are looking to win Trump over by winning Cramer over.

Which speaks to just how influential Cramer has grown in Trump’s estimation.