U.S. Ethanol Group Clashes with Icahn over Details of Biofuels Negotiation
by Chris Prentis and Jennifer Ablan (Reuters/Yahoo!Finance) The head of the Renewable Fuels Association says billionaire investor Carl Icahn told him last week President Donald Trump was about to issue an order overhauling the U.S. biofuels program – something both Icahn and the White House have denied.
Confusion over Trump’s plans for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires increasing volumes of biofuels to be added to gasoline and diesel each year, triggered gyrations in the energy and agricultural markets this week and reopened questions about Icahn’s role shaping the president’s regulatory policy.
Clarifying for the first time how the Washington-based lobbying group had been led to believe Trump was about to alter the Renewable Fuels Program, RFA President Bob Dinneen told Reuters on Thursday that Icahn, an unpaid adviser to Trump on regulatory issues, had been the source.
The RFA on Tuesday issued a statement saying it had been informed by “an official with the Trump administration” that an executive order was coming to alter the biofuels program in a way that eased the burden on refiners, and that the move was “not negotiable.” The statement did not identify the official.
The White House responded saying an executive order was not in the works, and claimed no knowledge of a Trump official negotiating with the RFA.
He (Icahn) said the negotiation between Dinneen and Icahn resulted in a joint memorandum from them imploring the White House to alter the biofuels program by removing the blending requirement from refiners, and by providing incentives for more ethanol production.
Icahn said refining company Valero was part of the negotiations.
The White House did not comment on those negotiations, but said Icahn “does not have a position with the administration nor a policymaking role.”
Dinneen said that he was informed by Icahn that the RFA could negotiate some benefits for the biofuels industry in exchange for his the group’s support. READ MORE and MORE (Politico’s Morning Energy) and MORE (Forbes) and MORE (AgriMoney) and MORE (Des Moines Register) and MORE (Reuters/Yahoo!) and MORE (Argus Media) and MORE (MinnPost.com)