March 29, 2018
By Jarrett Renshaw
President Donald Trump’s advisers have urged him to leave U.S. biofuels policy reform efforts to Congress, after months of work to broker a quick-fix deal between rival corn and oil industries got bogged down in dispute.
The recommendation to back away underscores the difficulty of getting two key political constituencies to agree on the future of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, a decade-old law that requires refiners to cover the cost of blending biofuels like corn-based ethanol into the fuel supply.
The law has created a big new market for farmers, but also a headache for refiners who say costs have soared in the last few years.
Trump’s White House has hosted a series of meetings in recent months between representatives of the two sides. The meetings are aimed at finding executive- or administrative-level changes to lower the cost of the program to refiners, including capping the price of blending credits refiners need to prove compliance.
They follow failed efforts last year by independent refiners and billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns refining company CVR Energy, to convince the administration to overhaul the rule unilaterally.