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White House Weighs U.S. Biofuels Program Change, No Position Yet, Says Official
By Emily Stephenson
WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) - The Trump administration is reviewing the possibility of a key change to U.S. biofuels policy requested by oil refiners and Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor and special advisor on regulations to President Donald Trump, a White House official said on Monday.
The administration has no position "either way on this issue at this time," the White House official confirmed to Reuters. The statements come after news last week that Icahn had reached out to the White House regarding the change.
The debate centers on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a 2005 policy that requires increasing volumes of biofuels to be added to gasoline and diesel each year. Oil refiners including Valero Energy Corp and CVR Energy Inc currently have to show environmental regulators they are meeting those annual mandates, and have urged the government to push this compliance further downstream to fuel blenders and integrated oil companies.
Opponents of the change say it will complicate ensuring compliance and that it could threaten the future of the RFS policy that sets the annual requirements for use of biofuels with gasoline and diesel.
Confusion over Trump's plans for RFS sparked wild swings in energy and agricultural markets last week. Carl Icahn, who owns a majority stake in CVR, said he had reached out to the White House about the issue.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also been reviewing requests from oil refiners including Valero Energy Corp and Delta Air Lines Inc's Monroe Energy LLC. A public comment period on the issue wrapped up late last month.
Two sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters that they have been told by administration officials they are concerned about potential political backlash from biofuels companies and fuel marketers if they make the change that Icahn and Valero are seeking. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson in Washington; Additional reporting and writing by Chris Prentice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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