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Senators send warning to EPA’s Andrew Wheeler over biofuels policy

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Five senators of the Republican party have issued a warning to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) acting administrator Andrew Wheeler that their pending support over his nomination to lead the EPA will be contingent on his biofuels policy, Reuters reports.

The five senators are listed as: Ted Cruz, Texas; Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania; Michael Lee, Utah; John Kennedy, Louisiana; and Bill Cassidy, Louisiana.

The senators, according to the report, are each from states which host large oil refineries. The warning outlines that Wheeler would have to reduce the costs for oil companies for complying with the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“Without an adequate proposal to meaningfully lower the regulatory burden ... we will have serious concerns with your nomination,” the senators stated in a letter to Wheeler.

The EPA is ironing out several adjustments to the RFS that could be of interest to the oil industry, including lifting a summertime ban on higher blends of ethanol gasoline and curbing speculation on the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market with limits.

However, Biofuels International reported that the summertime ban may exclude the RIN limits, which could potentially jeopardise both support for Wheeler’s nomination and relations between the EPA and the oil industry.