Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen says he has been talking with a special regulatory adviser to President Trump about how they might work together on regulatory changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), but it involves compromising on the point of obligation issue.
Dinneen issued a statement regarding a call he received from “an official with the Trump administration” – identified by others as Carl Icahn, who owns CVR Refining. Dinneen says he was informed that “a pending executive order would change the point of obligation from refiners to position holders at the terminal, a potentially small increase in the number of obligated parties, but one which would distribute the obligation more equitably.”
“Despite our continued opposition to the move, we were told the executive order was not negotiable,” said Dinneen. RFA just submitted comments last week opposing the proposed change in point of obligation from refiners to blenders, while one of RFA’s largest members, Valero Energy, supports it – as does CVR Refining.
Dinneen indicated he would rather relent on the point of obligation to get a waiver allowing higher ethanol blends to be sold year round. “Our top priority this year is to ensure consumers have year-round access to E15 (15% ethanol) and we would like to Trump administration to help cut through the red tape on this unnecessary regulation,” he said. “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure consumers have access to the lowest cost, cleanest, highest octane source of fuel in the world, and to ensure a strong RFS is maintained.”
Press reports indicate this was the deal that was struck between RFA and Ichan, which was denounced by ethanol trade group Growth Energy. “Neither RFA nor Carl Icahn have the authority to strike a ‘deal.’ Mr. Icahn does not work for the U.S. government; he owns CVR Refining, which would profit directly from this change,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy.
American Coalition for Ethanol Executive Vice President Brian Jennings also commented. “Despite rumors, this is not a done deal and not a take-it-or-leave-it scenario. Changing the RFS point of obligation and providing RVP relief will both require EPA rulemaking and public comments,” said Jennings. “The only clear winners in a deal to move the RFS point of obligation would be Carl Icahn and oil refiners like Valero.”