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Senators from refinery states request Trump meeting on biofuels

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Nine U.S. senators from states that have
oil refineries sent a letter to President Donald Trump on
Thursday urging changes to the country's biofuels policy and
asking for a meeting to discuss the issue.

The letter reflects growing tensions between refiners that
oppose the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard - a law requiring them
to blend increasing amounts of ethanol into the nation's fuel
each year - and the Midwest corn lobby that supports it.

The Trump administration bowed to rising pressure from
Midwest lawmakers last week, assuring them in letters and phone
calls that it would ditch proposals, supported by the refining
industry, to overhaul the biofuels policy.

The senators said that decision could cost jobs.

"If your administration does not make adjustments or reforms
on matters related to the Renewable Fuel Standard, it will
result in a loss of jobs around the country, particularly in our
states," according to the letter, which was signed by Texas
Senator Ted Cruz, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, Pennsylvania
Senator Pat Toomey and six others.

In the letter, the senators asked Trump for a meeting within
the next three weeks that would include them, a number of
Midwest lawmakers and relevant administration officials "to
discuss a pathway forward toward a mutually agreeable solution."

A White House official did not immediately respond to a
request for comment on the meeting request.

The Renewable Fuel Standard was implemented by former
President George W. Bush in 2005 as a way to support farmers,
reduce imports and combat climate change.

The oil industry has opposed the regulation, mainly because
the increasing biofuels volume mandates cut into their
petroleum-based fuel market share.

A number of independent refiners, like Valero Energy Corp,
CVR Energy and PBF Energy are also vocally opposed to the
regulation's requirement that refiners blend the biofuels or
purchase credits from rivals that do - which they say costs them
hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

CVR's majority owner, billionaire Carl Icahn, served for
months as a top adviser to Donald Trump on regulation and during
that time pushed to shift the responsibility for blending away
from refiners to supply terminals or distributors. He resigned
from his post this summer over concerns about his dual role as
an investor and adviser.

The Environmental Protection Agency said last week that it
did not believe shifting the blending requirement off refiners
was appropriate. The EPA also jettisoned a proposal to cut
biofuels volumes mandates, and another to count ethanol exports
against those mandates.
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Writing by Richard Valdmanis;
Editing by Dan Grebler)

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