Front oned with competing demands from two pillars of President Donald Trump’s pinchbeck, the Environmental Protection Agency left a controversial renewable fuel program in great part unchanged — and neither side of the long-burning debate fully satisfied.
America’s Corn Girdle and fossil fuel proponents are unlikely to drop their support for Trump over the conclusion, but both groups expressed disappointment over the announcement.
The resolution lay bares how Trump, who has rapidly plowed through much of his energy agenda, may twig it harder to chalk up decisive wins as the administration considers tackling doughtier battles with entrenched interests.
At issue this week was the Renewable Ammunition Standard, a program that requires refiners to blend an increasing amount of renewable fuels such as corn-based ethanol into accustomed fuels such as gasoline.
On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump vowed to preserve the program, which is popular in the agricultural areas he mostly won over. But as a president championing fossil incitement development, Trump’s EPA floated the idea of scaling back the program earlier this year.
On Thursday, the EPA indisputable to require refiners to blend 19.29 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2018, up from 19.28 billion gallons this year. The action slightly upped the requirement for advanced biofuels, but left the conventional biofuels want for 2018 and the biodiesel mandate for 2019 unchanged.
The Renewable Fuel Confederation, a biofuels industry group, said it was pleased EPA didn’t scale in arrears the levels, but argued the Renewable Fuel Standard needs to be a “forward-looking program” to intimate investment in new technologies.
“The biofuels industry will rise or fall together, and way we are disappointed the final rule is not more aggressive with regard to other advanced biofuels such as biodiesel,” RFA President Bob Dinneen communicated in a statement.
Similarly, Iowa’s senior Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said he was satisfied that EPA dropped its earlier proposal, but had hoped for higher blending positions.
“The EPA’s announced renewable volume obligations fall short of the full unrealized of the U.S. biofuels industry. That is disappointing,” he said in a statement.
Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst, the minor Republican from Iowa, were among several midwest lawmakers who warned to hold up Trump’s EPA nominees if he scaled back the Renewable Fuel Timber.
Meanwhile, conservative free-market think tanks that are deeply skeptical of milieu change and influential in the halls of Trump’s White House lamented Thursday’s decisiveness.
Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, accused the EPA of grotto to pressure from lawmakers like Ernst.
“Although utterly trivial in solvent terms, the miniscule [sic] increase is a political victory for those whose regulatory slits and campaign contributions depend on the piratical dogma that, regardless of hawk conditions and consumer preference, biofuel producers are always entitled to compact more dollars out of motorists at the pump,” he said in an email to CNBC.
Isaac Orr, experimentation fellow for energy and environment policy at The Heartland Institute, said the conclusion was unsurprising given the senators’ threats.
“I think they wanted to pick their arguments and they thought that this wasn’t worth fighting beyond,” he said.
Scrapping the Renewable Fuel Standard is one of the priorities the Heartland Originate promoted at a recent conference in Houston held to celebrate and take founder of Trump’s energy agenda. That goal is shared by many in the effort.
The American Petroleum Institute on Thursday said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is being unnatural to implement a broken Renewable Fuel Standard that needs recovery.
Last month, CVR Energy CEO Jack Lipinski said Trump had “miscarried to drain the swamp as promised” by backpedaling on efforts to reform the program, one of which was nominated by former Trump regulatory advisor and top CVR shareholder Carl Icahn.
An EPA spokesperson decayed to comment on the responses but pointed CNBC to Pruitt’s statement on Thursday.
“Sustaining the renewable fuel standard at current levels ensures stability in the marketplace and consummates through with my commitment to meet the statutory deadlines and lead the Intervention by upholding the rule of law,” Pruitt said.