Trump to Put Biofuel Reform Push on Ice, for Now: Sources
by Jarrett Renshaw (Reuters) The Trump administration will delay any moves to reform the nation’s biofuel policy for about three months, according to three sources briefed on the matter – a decision one of the sources said was meant to shield farmers worried about a potential trade war with China.
The decision comes after President Donald Trump failed to broker a deal between Big Oil and Big Corn during meetings over months about the future of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard – a law broadly supported in the U.S. heartland that requires oil refiners to add biofuels like ethanol to the nation’s gasoline.
“There’s just a lot going on right now, so they decided to take a pause and revisit in three months,” one of the sources said, referring to worries in the U.S. agriculture industry that an escalating trade dispute between the United States and China could hurt U.S. commodity exports.
The biofuel reforms threaten to weaken demand for corn-based ethanol, compounding concerns from farmers about a loss of grain exports to China due to the trade dispute. Rural voters are an important constituency for President Donald Trump, helping propel his election victory in 2016, but his support with this group has slipped. reut.rs/2ya8zRy
Some of the pressure to act has declined lately, however, as credit prices have dropped to three-year lows.
The decline in RIN prices is due in part to news that the EPA has significantly increased the number of small refiners it has exempted from the program for financial reasons.
The EPA also agreed to allow PES to shed some $200 million worth of RFS compliance costs, allowing the company to exit bankruptcy.
Trump had supported the idea of a price cap and expanded high-ethanol gasoline sales but found it hard to find common ground between the oil and corn lobbies on the issue.
Trump’s advisers have urged him to punt the tricky issue to Congress. READ MORE
Reynolds says Trump may help Iowa farmers hurt by trade tariffs (Des Moines Register)
Groups question reported RFS exemptions (Farm Week Now)
Refineries given RFS waivers is ‘outrageous abuse of the statute’ (Ethanol Producer Magazine/Renewable Fuels Association)