Trump Administration Makes Sweeping Changes to Federal Ethanol Rules

The Trump Administration has announced a sweeping change to federal ethanol rules to placate farmers furious with the president's earlier decisions to exempt dozens of small oil refineries from requirements to blend biofuels into the nation's fuel supply.

The announced package would represent a win for ethanol and biodiesel producers in their ongoing battle with oil refiners over the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard, the federal mandate that requires biofuels to make up a portion of the U.S. gasoline supply. Although EPA will continue to provide economic hardship waivers to small refiners, the president offered to require larger refineries to add more biofuels to their products to make up the difference. As a result, the 2020 mandate could require blending above the 15 billion gallons called for in the laws that created the RFS.

Midwestern Republican Senators are angry because they say that the proposal floated by EPA to implement the deal does not live up to Trump’s promise. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has gone so far as to demand the resignation of EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler if the ethanol agreement is not upheld.