Trump convenes meeting on US biofuels policy amid refiner bankruptcy

26 Feb 2018 | John McGarrity

US President Donald Trump expects to meet key senators and cabinet officials early next week to discuss potential changes to US biofuels policy, Reuters reported, in the aftermath of a bankruptcy involving a major east coast refiner.

The meeting is a futher attempt by the Trump administration to find some common ground among the the oil industry and corn lobby, which have taken trenchant positions on the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires refiners to meet the cost of mixing biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into the fuel they produce.

Citing several unnamed sources, Reuters reported that the meeting will include Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and possibly Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The wire report cited one source as saying the meeting would focus on short-term measures to help bankrupt Philadelphia-based refiner PES to continue operating.

PES has petitioned a bankruptcy judge to discard roughly $350 million of its obligations to buy RFS credits owed to the EPA.

Reuters cited other sources as saying that the meeting would also consider whether to cap prices for biofuel credits, allow higher-ethanol blends to be sold all year, and whether to take measures against market speculators.