Biofuel blending controversy continues as Icahn is subpoenaed

Carl Icahn has been subpoenaed by the US Justice Department in relation to his efforts to overhaul the US biofuels programme while an unpaid advisor to President Trump, according to Reuters.

A securities filling from Icahn’s company, Icahn Enterprises, revealed the court summons, Reuters reports.

Earlier this year, a great deal of controversy was caused by Icahn’s role as both a presidential adviser and an investor with interests in multiple industries. Of particular concern was Icahn’s influence over the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), despite owning major oil refining company CVR.

The RFS, which was introduced over a decade ago, obliges US oil refiners to blend increasing volumes of ethanol and other biofuels into the fuel supply, or purchase credits from companies that do. According to Reuters, a number of oil refiners have claimed that the RFS is costing them billions of dollars a year.

While an adviser to Trump, Icahn proposed changes to the RFS that lifted responsibility for blending fuels off of refiners and moved them further down the chain to supply terminals. It was revealed in April this year that CVR Energy made a substantial bet on biofuel credit prices falling, something which would have happened had Icahn’s proposals been implemented.

In August, Icahn resigned from his advisory post following the controversy surrounding his perceived conflict of interests.

Watchdog groups such as Public Citizen and American Oversight, along with Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, have welcomed the investigation in Icahn and CVR.

“It’s critical that prosecutors get to the bottom of Icahn’s involvement in the administration and uncover why, and how, he was given so much access despite the obvious ethical concerns,” Austin Evers, head of the watchdog group American Oversight, told Reuters.

“I hope this leads to answers that all Americans deserve,” said Whitehouse.