| NEW YORK, March 16
NEW YORK, March 16 More than 20 U.S. senators
pressed President Donald Trump on Thursday to reject requests
from oil refiners to overhaul the U.S. biofuels program,
weighing in on a debate that has roiled markets from soybeans to
gasoline in recent weeks.
Oil refiners have requested that the U.S. government change
the program to push the burden of meeting annual biofuels use
requirements downstream, a move that has been met with criticism
and backlash from ethanol producers, fuel retailers and others.
The change would be "unwarranted and indefensible," said the
bipartisan group of senators that included Charles Grassley from
Iowa and Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota in a letter to Trump.
The White House said last week it was considering the
changes, whose supporters include billionaire investor and
special advisor on regulations Carl Icahn. Icahn is a majority
stakeholder in oil refiner CVR Energy Inc.
The news shook the market for biofuels compliance credits
and whipsawed some grain prices as traders fretted over how to
position ahead of any changes.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under former
President Barack Obama in November proposed denying the requests
from refiners, but opened the issue up for public comment.
"This type of change would not only wholly undermine the
intent of the program, but would also result in a massive,
costly, time-consuming shift in compliance," the letter dated
March 16 said.
The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, signed into law by former
President George W. Bush, was designed to boost use of biofuels
like ethanol and biodiesel in gasoline and diesel in a bid to
curb greenhouse gas emissions, boost rural economies and reduce
dependence on foreign oil.
The program has been stymied by regulatory delays and become
a battleground between the oil and corn industries in
(Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Richard Chang)