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WASHINGTON, D.C. — There are no plans for an executive order (EO) that would shift the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) from refiners, manufacturers and importers downstream to blenders or position holders, reported NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.
Early on Feb. 28, multiple outlets claimed that the White House was close to issuing such an order, and that a backroom deal between the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Trump Administration advisor Carl Icahn took place, after which the RFA would reverse its position from opposing to supporting a shift in exchange for a one-pound Reid Vapor Pressure waiver for E15.
"This backroom deal would severely undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard and force everyday Americans to shoulder the burdens of higher fuel costs and more expensive goods. A majority of the fuel industry, including most refiners and large sectors of transport as well as renewable fuel producers, are united to keep the compliance requirements where they are today," said National Association of Truck Stop Operators President and CEO Lisa Mullings and Tim Columbus, general counsel of NACS and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, in a joint statement. "Making this change would only benefit a handful of companies at the expense of average, hardworking Americans."
However, later in the day a White House spokeswoman stated that "there isn't an ethanol EO in the works" in an email to reporters.
"While we hope that there is indeed no executive order looming in the near future, Carl Icahn and his allies will continue their efforts to shift their responsibilities to fuel retailers," said Paige Anderson, director of government relations for NACS. "Now, more than ever, on behalf of small businesses and consumers, it is imperative that we remain vigilant in opposing what is essentially a bailout to a few groups of merchant refiners."
Growth Energy, which represents producers and supporters of ethanol, issued thanks to the White House for silencing the rumors.
"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. "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."