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Report: Trump drove EPA's decision to grant 31 biofuel waivers to small refiners

President Donald Trump personally directed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to announce 31 small refinery exemptions to national biofuels mandates, Reuters reported Aug. 16, citing sources familiar with the matter.

"The president has heard from all sides and in the end he has had enough of it. He called Wheeler and gave him the green light," a source told Reuters.

The EPA announced Aug. 9 that it received 42 petitions from small refineries seeking exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard program. The EPA granted 31 of them, denied six, declared three ineligible or withdrawn, and said two were pending.

As part of the biofuel blending waivers program, small U.S. refiners with a capacity of less than 75,000 barrels per day can seek exemptions from the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires refiners to blend increasing amounts of biofuels such as ethanol into the U.S. gasoline pool.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers applauded the waivers, saying Aug. 9 that the EPA's decision will go "a long way to protecting manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania, the Midwest, and across the country."

However, the Renewable Fuels Association strongly criticized the decision in an Aug. 9 statement, calling it a "significant broken promise on the part of President Trump that will hurt rural America at the worst possible time."

In June, President Trump told members of his cabinet to review the administration's biofuel blending waivers program after hearing from farmers following a tour of the Midwest.