Nicole Welle | September 10, 2020
President Trump directed the EPA to deny dozens of retroactive biofuel waivers from oil refiners over concerns that the waivers could reduce his support in the corn belt.
Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), oil refiners are required to either blend biofuels into their products or buy credits from the refiners that do. However, refiners also have the option to submit requests for waivers that exempt them from those requirements if they can prove that adhering to the requirements will cause them great financial harm, according to a Reuters report.
In recent years, the Trump administration has increased the number of waivers given out to refiners, a move that did not sit well with farm states since it could hurt demand for corn-based ethanol. An appeals court in January said that many of the waivers should not have been issued and decided that waivers granted after 2010 must only be approved as extensions to existing waivers. This led to an increase in waiver applications from refiners attempting to comply with the court ruling.
President Trump’s request to deny the pending retroactive waivers is likely to draw him some support in Iowa and other Midwest swing states where his support has waned somewhat since the 2016 elections. The EPA could reject dozens of waiver requests as soon as this week, and shares have already increased for Pacific Ethanol Inc., Green Plains Inc. and Renewable Energy Group Inc, according to a Bloomberg article.