That made it all the more surprising when it emerged Feb.
27 that the 81-year-old billionaire -- now a special regulatory adviser to President -- had won the backing of the Renewable Fuels Association.
The agency said it formulated this policy based on more than 670,000 comments from the public.
But the move appeared unlikely to quiet dispute about the nation’s renewable fuels policy, encoded in the Renewable Fuel Standard, originally created in 2005 energy legislation and then subsequently expanded in 2007.
At the heart of the dispute lies the question of who exactly should be responsible for complying with a 12-year-old law mandating the blending of ethanol in gasoline. He argued loudly and repeatedly during the general election that the burden shouldn’t fall on companies like his but on fuel blenders instead.
Icahn, a renowned corporate raider, controls one of the largest independent U. Icahn’s position is anathema to most of the biofuels industry.
In fact, the scientific jury is still out on whether requirements to blend ethanol with gasoline lead to the lower carbon emissions that Congress intended when it made those requirements law.
A 2011 report by the National Research Council, which is part of the U. National Academies, found that it may do just the opposite, and the matter is under official review by the Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog.
The ethanol lobby’s “Fuels America” coalition cites the Wang study in its ad. National Research Council: [A]ccording to EPA’s own estimates, corn-grain ethanol produced in 2011, which is almost exclusively made in biorefineries using natural gas as a heat source, is a higher emitter of GHG than gasoline.But the RFS in recent years has increasingly pitted two groups against one another — fuel refiners who blend renewable fuels into their products and have decried increasing volume requirements, and ethanol producers themselves — with the EPA stuck in the middle.The agency has accordingly missed a series of deadlines to promulgate annual volume requirements for biofuels, leading to a lawsuit earlier this year by the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. “This puts us back on track in terms of our statutory schedule, and we intend to stay on it,” Mc Cabe said. “Regardless of the numbers, we are now discussing volumes for 20 on November 30, 2015,” said Stephen Brown, vice president and counsel for federal affairs at Tesoro Companies, a major refiner.The EPA called on Monday for an increase in the amount of ethanol and other renewable fuels blended into the nation’s overall fuel supply next year, but stopped far short of mandating the volume of biofuels once envisioned for 2016.The agency has been walking a tightrope between the demands of ethanol producers, who have generally supported the ever increasing statutory requirements, and the petroleum and refining industries, which have said that absorbing more biofuels into the fuel supply is not feasible.The goal of the legislation was to ensure the blending of ever-increasing amounts of biofuels into the nation’s transportation fuels, supplanting more and more petroleum and ultimately culminating in 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by the year 2022, or roughly double the amount just mandated for 2016.There were multiple justifications for this move — including not only reducing dependence on foreign oil, but also helping to battle climate change.The Washington-based lobbying group’s president, Bob Dinneen, had long opposed the kind of change Icahn advocates, yet his group is now backing the proposal, which is being discussed in the White House.The news roiled the gasoline and corn markets -- and triggered an unprecedented display of public disunity from ethanol producers.“We believe the Renewable Fuels Association has been bought, sold and delivered on a platter," Todd Becker, chief executive officer of Green Plains Inc., which isn’t a member of the lobby group. The company endorses the move championed by Icahn, and Becker said that may have helped to sway the deal.In November, the renewable fuels unit of Valero Energy Corp., the largest independent U. “Bob Dinneen sold his soul to the devil,” Becker said of Valero joining the group. ethanol producer and a founder of Growth Energy, a separate trade group vehemently opposed to the Icahn move, called the agreement "a back-room deal" made while "leading voices" were absent.