Big oil urges Trump to hold course on ethanol “point of obligation”

(Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

The oil industry’s largest lobbying group urged President Donald Trump Wednesday not to move responsibility for meeting the federal ethanol mandate away from oil refineries, arguing it would further complicate an already “broken system.”

“Moving the point of obligation does nothing to alleviate the structural problems in the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said American Petroleum Institute Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola. “It would create significant uncertainty.”

The plea comes as the oil and ethanol industries await a decision from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on whether the so-called “point of obligation” will be shifted to the fuel marketing firms that blend the ethanol into the fuel supply and away from the refineries.

Under former President Barack Obama, the agency opposed that change. But one of President Donald Trump’s advisers is billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns a stake in the Sugar Land-based refiner CVR Energy and has long advocated for moving the “point of obligation.”