WASHINGTON, March 2, 2017 -- Fuels America, a coalition of biofuels advocates, says it has “severed ties” with the Renewable Fuels Association, accusing the group of siding with billionaire investor and refinery owner Carl Icahn in a plan – denied by the White House -- that would “permanently destabilize the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
The brouhaha erupted earlier this week when RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said he’d been alerted by a White House official that an executive order had been drafted that would shift the “point of obligation” – which determines who is responsible for meeting biofuels mandates – under the RFS from certain oil refiners.
Dinneen said he’d been told the executive order was “not negotiable.” At the same time, Dinneen said, the Trump administration was promising assistance on a measure that would allow E15, a gasoline blend with 15 percent ethanol – to be sold during the summer months.
“Carl Icahn,” Fuels America said in a statement, “in his conflicted role as owner of CVR Refining and special White House advisor, has sought to mislead biofuel advocates into accepting rewrites to the RFS in exchange for changes to outdated EPA regulations that limit summertime sales of ethanol.
“His purported deal offers nothing for those who care about increasing the role of homegrown biofuel in meeting America’s energy needs, and it is a disservice to hundreds of thousands of farmers and workers in rural America that depend on a strong market for U.S. biofuels.
“Despite our opposition, the Renewable Fuels Association has elected to lend its support to Mr. Icahn’s efforts. Accordingly, RFA’s position is no longer aligned with America’s biofuel industry and the Fuels America coalition has resolved to sever ties with the group.”
Dinneen, meanwhile, says there’s seems to have been some “misinformation” circulating about discussions involving the purported executive order, and that RFA’s “only objective is to expand market opportunities” for ethanol.
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“I continue to have great respect for the Fuels America coalition and its members, and I believe deeply in its mission,” he said. “RFA continues to support the goals of the coalition, which is to defend and support the RFS, a program for which the RFA worked awfully hard to pass in the first place.”
A White House spokeswoman reportedly denied that any executive order on ethanol is in the works, and Growth Energy, another group representing ethanol producers, released a statement applauding the administration for “putting a stop to the circulating rumors that an alleged ‘deal’ had been made to change the RFS point of obligation.
“We look forward to a constructive, ongoing dialogue with this administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill about policies that will continue to uphold what has been the nation’s most successful energy policy, reducing oil imports and cutting transportation-related emissions,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said in a statement on the group’s website.
“Under the RFS, the point of obligation – which obligates oil refiners to blend renewable fuel into our transportation fuel supply – is working as intended and is making sure that consumers have a choice of fuel at the gas pump. President Trump has voiced a strong commitment to the RFS and continued progress for homegrown fuels, and we are heartened by the White House’s quick efforts to silence these rumors. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with the administration on biofuel policy.”
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