Exclusive: Trump administration to stick with 2020 biofuel plan over farmer objections - sources

By Stephanie Kelly NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Trump administration aims to stick with its current proposal on 2020 biofuel blending requirements, despite anger in Farm Country that the plan fails to compensate for the administration's expanded use of refinery waivers, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The issue could undermine President Donald Trump's support among biofuel advocates and corn farmers, an important constituency in next year's election

Reuters December 19, 2019 00:11:22 IST
Exclusive: Trump administration to stick with 2020 biofuel plan over farmer objections - sources

Exclusive Trump administration to stick with 2020 biofuel plan over farmer objections  sources

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Trump administration aims to stick with its current proposal on 2020 biofuel blending requirements, despite anger in Farm Country that the plan fails to compensate for the administration's expanded use of refinery waivers, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The issue could undermine President Donald Trump's support among biofuel advocates and corn farmers, an important constituency in next year's election.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told the Iowa Corn Growers Association on Tuesday that the administration will proceed with the Environmental Protection Agency's October proposal for addressing refinery waivers, the sources said. Farmers and biofuel producers have said that plan does not go far enough to make up for waived gallons.

"The rule isn’t changing," one of the sources familiar with the Tuesday discussion said.

In August, U.S. President Donald Trump's administration sparked outrage across the Farm Belt after it granted 31 oil refiners exemptions to their biofuel blending obligations. Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, oil refiners are required to blend some 15 billion gallons of ethanol into their gasoline every year, but small facilities can be exempted if compliance would hurt them financially.

In an attempt to appease farmers who believe waivers undercut ethanol consumption, the Trump administration has since been trying to find a way to preserve demand for biofuels while still protecting small refineries. The oil industry disagrees with the claim that the waivers destroy demand.

Despite weeks of meetings with biofuel advocates, oil industry officials and senators centered on biofuels policy, the EPA's proposal, announced in October as a supplemental rule, was met with harsh criticism. The plan would raise the biofuels volumes that some refineries must blend in 2020 based on U.S. Energy Department recommendations for volumes that should be waived, instead of volumes that are actually waived.

The EPA has routinely waived more blending volumes than the DOE has recommended.

The supplemental rule underwent a period of public comment, which ended in late November. EPA then sent the proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget for a interagency review process.

The plan is expected to be finalized by Friday, one source said. The final rule for 2020 blending requirements is already past its end-November deadline.

The White House and EPA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Support across key Midwestern states helped propel Trump to the presidency in 2016, a trend he is hoping to replicate in next year's election. But farmers have threatened to withdraw support for Trump because of his administration's handling of biofuel policy.

On Tuesday, more than 1,700 farmers and biofuel advocates sent a letter to President Donald Trump, criticizing EPA's proposal and asking him to directly intervene in the debate.

The biofuels news, however, comes amid progress on the United States' trade war with China, a dispute that has been especially damaging to U.S. farmers.

It also comes as Congress readies a vote on the nation's new trade pact with Mexico and Canada, an agreement also expected to boost farmers' fortunes.

Renewable fuel (D6) credits for 2019 traded at 12.75 cents each on Wednesday, down from 13.25 cents in the previous session, traders said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Scotland's seafood exporters dealt new post-Brexit blow
World

Scotland's seafood exporters dealt new post-Brexit blow

By Kate Holton LONDON (Reuters) - The post-Brexit woes facing Scotland's fishing industry deepened on Saturday as its biggest logistics provider, DFDS Scotland, said it would halt exports to the European Union through one of its main services until at least Wednesday. Previously the company had said it would take until Monday to resume its "groupage" export service - which allows exporters to ship multiple products in a single consignment - while it tries to fix IT issues, paperwork errors and a backlog of goods. DFDS's move represents another blow for Scottish fishermen who this week warned that their businesses could become unviable after Britain shifted to a less integrated trade deal with the EU at the turn of the year

Pope Francis to have COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week
World

Pope Francis to have COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Saturday he planned to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as early as next week and urged everyone to get a shot, to protect not only their own lives but those of others.

U.S. Senator urges mobile, social media providers to keep Capitol rioters' data as man seen seizing Speaker's lectern arrested
World

U.S. Senator urges mobile, social media providers to keep Capitol rioters' data as man seen seizing Speaker's lectern arrested

By Rich McKay (Reuters) - A man photographed carrying off the Speaker's lectern during the Capitol Hill riots was arrested late Friday, while a top Democratic lawmaker on Saturday called on mobile carriers to preserve social media content related to the riots. Dozens of people have been charged following the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday, with the FBI asking the public for help identifying participants, given the proliferation of images of the riots on the internet.