Refiners Try to Hold Trump’s Attention
(Politico’s Morning Energy) With a settlement between refiner Philadelphia Energy Solutions and EPA in hand and voting in the Pennsylvania special election over, some biofuels observers think the issue may fall off Trump’s radar. A biofuels source told ME Tuesday they suspect “it will get demoted and less likely to have high level meetings.” Trump has held four meetings on the Renewable Fuel Standard and had asked for a fifth. But a White House meeting scheduled for Monday was canceled, and a settlement between PES and EPA easing the refiner’s obligations landed on Monday. A refining source less concerned about high compliance costs told ME on Tuesday “that with the Carlyle/PES problem solved, there is zero compelling rationale for administration to spend more time trying to jump through regulatory hoops that are unlikely to survive litigation.” The source said Trump would be best served allowing Sen. John Cornyn‘s RFS overhaul work “have some oxygen.”
Not everyone agrees: A refining source concerned about high compliance costs said Monday’s meeting was canceled for logistical reasons and that “high level discussions have continued,” with the intent of giving Trump options. “We expect a lot of sustained attention over the next few weeks,” the source said.
Refiners and Pruitt have worked to keep the issue alive. PES CEO Greg Gatta said in a statement Tuesday that his company’s release from part of its RFS obligation “is only a partial and temporary reprieve, and we are hopeful that policymakers will substantively address the flawed RINs compliance mechanism.” Also on Tuesday, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers sent Trump a letter urging him to “expeditiously act on sensible reforms” to the RFS. And multiple outlets quoted Pruitt on Monday and Tuesday discussing the need for changes to the program. READ MORE
Governors ask Trump to reject proposals that would weaken the RFS (Ethanol Producer Magazine)
WELCOME TO THE TRUMP HOTEL (Politico’s Morning Energy)
TRUMP MEETS WITH API, CEOs (Politico’s Morning Energy)
Excerpts from Politico’s Morning Energy: The oil industry’s top lobbying group is holding a two-day meeting at Trump International Hotel before heading to the White House today to press its concerns on steel tariffs, Pro’s Ben Lefebvre reports. While it’s not known how much the American Petroleum Institute is paying to the hotel, its annual board meeting began Wednesday at the location in D.C. and could involve up to 200 people representing various oil and gas companies. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke were scheduled to attend the board meeting Wednesday night at the Trump Hotel, sources told Ben, though press representatives from either agency did not respond to requests for comment.
“This kind of thing was a fear a lot of people had when the president did not divest from his business,” said Jordan Libowitz, spokesman for governance watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “What’s stopping the API from going to the president and saying, ‘Hey we just dropped a lot of money at your hotel. Just wanted you to know that before we started this meeting’?” Government conflict-of-interest rules do not apply to the president, but Libowitz said patronizing his business could be viewed as a way to try to influence Trump.
The president will meet today with members from API at 2:30 p.m. Outgoing API chief executive Jack Gerard is expected to attend, two sources said. The API executive committee is planning to air its concerns about Trump’s imposed steel tariffs and his warnings that the U.S. could walk away from NAFTA negotiations. READ MORE
Excerpt from Politico’s Morning Energy: The president’s White House meeting with the American Petroleum Institute revolved around “the important role natural resources play in our energy sector,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said. The guest list for the confab included Exxon CEO Darren Woods, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth, Shell Oil President Bruce Culpepper, BP America President John Mingé and API President Jack Gerard, among a host of other executives, Pro’s Ben Lefebvre reports . Vice President Mike Pence was also in attendance, API spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel said in a press release. Before heading to the White House, API had convened a two-day meeting at a Trump hotel. READ MORE