The oil sector and its Capitol Hill aides are pressing the Trump administration to defend its decision to eliminate oil refineries from requirements they mix biofuels into gasoline and diesel.
The administration has time until the next Monday to request the 10th Circuit U.S. Appeals Court to rehear a verdict that threatens to reduce the use of waivers.
Republican senators from states with significant oil-refining interests, along with Ted Cruz of Texas and John Barrasso of Wyoming have made requests to the White House or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recent days, warning that if the decision is utilized nationwide, it could strain refineries, raise gasoline prices and jeopardize jobs.
At issue are standards to use renewable fuels, such as corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel. Though federal legislation allows the EPA to eliminate small refineries facing “financial hardship,” a January order by a three-judge board of the 10th Circuit Appeals Court sends into doubt the agency’s ability to raise those waivers.
If the decision stands, it’s believed only two small refineries would still be eligible for hardship aid, based on a letter 13 Republican senators, led by Barrasso, sent to Prez Trump on February 27.
The EPA has the legal option to use the court order to refineries only in the six states included by the 10th Circuit; however, top agency delegates view that as unworkable, according to two people conversant in the matter.
Administration delegates, along with White House economic consultant Larry Kudlow had tentatively decided to implement the ruling nationwide.