Trump To ‘Personally’ Get Involved In Small Refinery Exemption Requests
Last week, President Trump promised U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) that he would personally get involved regarding small refiners’ biofuel blending exemption requests.
Refiners have requested that the EPA grant them biofuel exemptions going back to 2012 which could allow them to circumvent a January decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which said a refinery can receive new exemptions only if they have received them continuously since the program began.
Senator Ernst (R-IA), who is in a tough reelection race, urged President Trump to reject the refiners’ request.
Iowa is a key swing state for the President Trump to win, however. If Trump backs Senator Ernst’s request, he risks alienating refiners in Pennsylvania which is another key swing state.
Although Trump won Iowa by 10 percent in 2016, he is currently in a tight race with Biden, which increases pressure on the President to dispense waivers and increase ethanol renewable fuel blending requirements for 2021.
Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) have also been in frequent contact with the President regarding the petroleum refining industries and denying the waiver requests would harm refiners struggling to survive with the collapse in fuel demand because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, EPA announced Friday there are 98 petitions for small refinery exemptions going back to 2011.
Just since June the agency has received two new petitions for 2011 and 2012, three for each of 2013, 2014 and 2015, plus one more for 2016. That brings the number of requests for “gap year” petitions to 67.