By Eric Wolff, Politico.
The Trump administration plans to reject a proposal that would let oil refiners off the hook for complying with the federal ethanol mandate, a senior administration official told POLITICO, dashing the hopes of billionaire Carl Icahn and a slew of independent companies.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to formally announce the decision within the next two weeks, the official said.
The move is a severe blow for Icahn, a longtime associate and early supporter of Donald Trump who owns the refiner CVR Energy. He was once so confident that the obligation would be changed that he tried to strike a deal with a biofuels trade association.
Ultimately, Icahn and his allies were unable to prevail over a peculiar alliance of major oil companies and biofuels producers, who opposed changing the Renewable Fuel Standard, though for different reasons.
Icahn, refining giant Valero and smaller refiners argued that purchasing compliance credits, called Renewable Identification Numbers, squeezed their bottom lines and, in some cases, threatened to put them out of business. Icahn's CVR lost $19 million in the second quarter of this year after guessing incorrectly that the administration would make the policy change.
Trump has turned away from one of Icahn's main policy goals in large part due to pressure from corn-state voters and ethanol organizations.
"President Trump supports the EPA's decision," the official said.