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US biofuel groups ask Trump to rein in EPA on changes to blending mandate

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US biofuel groups ask Trump to rein in EPA on changes to blending mandate

Washington — US biofuel producers and corn growers urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to rein in his administration's consideration of "drastic, unprecedented changes" to the renewable fuel mandate that are being pushed by the refining industry.

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"If the proposed changes are finalized, EPA's actions would cause severe harm to our industry, undermining your efforts to drive economic growth and secure America's status as the global leader in biofuel production," the 11 groups said in a letter to the White House.

The groups have become increasingly concerned that the Environmental Protection Agency under the leadership of biofuel critic Scott Pruitt will erode the Renewable Fuel Standard, despite Trump's campaign promises to protect the policy.

The letter asked the Trump administration to block any reductions to EPA's July proposal to require refiners to blend 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels into the nation's fuel supply next year.

They want a reconsideration of the proposal's cuts to 2018 and 2019 advanced biofuel volumes.

"The volumetric cuts are unwarranted, and we have serious procedural concerns about how EPA reached its conclusions," the biofuel groups said.

The groups urged the White House to reject a proposal to allow exporters to keep Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, for exported fuel, which they said would be seen as an export subsidy that would trigger a backlash by other ethanol-producing countries.

"These proposals originate from the same small group of petroleum refiners seeking to avoid the law by moving the RFS point of obligation, and would serve no purpose other than to paralyze growth in US biofuel markets, slow investment in blending infrastructure, strand investment in advanced biofuels, and export innovation overseas," the letter said.

The letter was signed by the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, American Biogas Council, American Coalition for Ethanol, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Growth Energy, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and Renewable Fuels Association.

Related: Find more content about Trump's administration in our news and analysis feature.

--Meghan Gordon,

--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter,