Trump administration likely to announce details of biofuels deal by Friday: sources

(Reuters News, 3 Oct 2019) The Trump administration is expected to announce by Friday details of a U.S. biofuels policy deal to help farmers angry over waivers granted to refiners exempting them from using corn-based ethanol and other biofuels, four sources familiar with the matter said.

The White House has held weeks of discussions with farm- and oil-state senators and executives at oil refiners and officials at biofuels producers.

Three of the sources said the plan would be unveiled on Friday at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), while the fourth did not specify the time. A White House spokesman declined to comment.

In August, President Donald Trump promised a “giant package” related to ethanol, after his administration angered the powerful corn lobby by granting 31 oil refineries exemptions to their biofuel blending mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Big Oil and Big Corn are key political constituencies for Trump. For years, the two sectors have clashed over the RFS, which requires the refining industry to blend ethanol and other biofuels into the nation’s gasoline.

The law has helped farmers by creating a 15 billion gallon market for ethanol, but upset the oil industry, which views biofuels as competition and has complained that the regulation can cost refineries a fortune.

As part of the RFS, the EPA can exempt small refineries if they prove compliance would cause disproportionate economic hardship. EPA’s decision to grant the 31 waivers to mandates opened a new schism between the two sides, which Trump hopes will support him in next year’s presidential election.

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Reuters News, 3 Oct 2019: Trump administration likely to announce details of biofuels deal by Friday: sources