White House Debates Icahn Plan Revamping Ethanol Rule

By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg Markets.

White House officials have spent the past two days in deliberations with billionaire refinery owner Carl Icahn about his proposal to modify federal policy on renewable fuels and with ethanol producers who oppose it, according to three people familiar with the talks.

The flurry of meetings and phone calls came after Bloomberg News reported Monday that Icahn had helped broker a compromise with a leading biofuel group on reworking the program. The report led to a surge of more than $100 million in the value of Icahn’s refinery investments.

Icahn, who is also an unpaid adviser on regulations to President Donald Trump, predicted the modifications he is seeking would be made soon. He described it as "a matter of extreme urgency" that must be addressed "to avoid potential bankruptcies."

This "is the quintessential example of the type of insane regulations throttling our economy that Donald Trump said all throughout his campaign he wanted to see changed," Icahn said in an email to Bloomberg. "It is within the White House’s power to move quickly on this issue."

Senior administration officials spoke with Icahn at length about his plan on Tuesday and held in-person meetings Wednesday with representatives of the Fuels America coalition of biofuel producers that opposes the proposed restructuring. Representatives of the American Petroleum Institute, which is lobbying against changes, also discussed the issue with White House and Environmental Protection Agency officials.