The holding company Icahn Enterprises was subpoenaed for information about its founder’s attempts to change U.S. biofuel policy while he was an informal White House advisor, reported Bloomberg.
The EPA rejected a petition by oil refiners to relieve them of the responsibility for blending biofuels into gasoline and diesel fuel, "dealing a blow to billionaire investor Carl Icahn and oil companies that had sought the change," reports Bloomberg. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt told farm-state lawmakers a few weeks ago that the agency was unlikely to change the "point of obligation," based on its preliminary analyses.
Billionaire Carl Icahn has been an informal White House adviser on regulatory issues since the early days of the Trump administration. Five Democratic senators asked EPA chief Scott Pruitt for all documents involving any communications involving Icahn and his businesses and the EPA, which regulates air pollution laws and biofuel usage.
With a letter to President Trump, two dozen senators, mainly from the Midwest, stepped into a dispute that recently fractured the unity of ethanol trade groups. Spearheaded by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the letter asks the president to keep petroleum refiners responsible for compliance with the Renewable Fuels Standard, which requires use of biofuels in the gasoline supply.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, the Trump administration's nominee for U.S. ambassador to China, says he is assured that a change in the Renewable Fuels Standard sought by oil refiners "is not going to happen," reported Radio Iowa. But a White House official told Reuters the proposal was under review, although the administration took no position "either way on this issue at this time."
Bipartisan legislation was filed in the House and Senate to allow year-round sale of E15, a higher, 15 percent blend of ethanol into gasoline than the traditional 10 percent. At present, E15 cannot be sold during the summer, a factor in this week's fracture among ethanol trade groups.