Trump reportedly sides with corn states in biofuels waivers fight


If a report by Reuters is accurate, a move by President Trump could impact the U.S. Supreme Court challenge by the owner of Oklahoma’s Wynnewood refinery which is fighting for biofuel mandate waivers.

CVR Refinery appealed the January ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that was against the waivers granted to its operation and a handful of other smaller operators.

But this week, President Trump reportedly instructed that dozens of oil refiner requests for retroactive waivers from U.S. biofuel laws be denied amid concerns the issue could cut into his support in the Farm Belt, three sources familiar with the decision said.

 The move, in the form of a direction to the Environmental Protection Agency, marks the end of an effort by the refining industry to come into compliance with a January court decision that said the Trump administration should not have given out some waivers in previous years.

The waivers have been a battleground for the influential oil and corn lobbies, both major constituencies for Trump as he seeks re-election in November.

The people familiar with Trump’s direction to the EPA wished to remain anonymous so they could speak candidly about the decision. The EPA did not immediately comment.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told Radio Iowa she could not confirm the Reuters report.

“We’re waiting for verification, so I hope it’s true,” Reynolds said. “It’s good news, but we’re waiting to see.”

Her state, a large corn producer and site of several ethanol plants that shut down operations in the COVID-19 pandemic has fought the waivers.

Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into their products, or buy credits from those that do. But refiners may also seek an exemption from those obligations if they prove the requirements would cause them financial harm.

Source: Reuters/Radio Iowa