Negative Reaction to Trump’s Refinery Bailout Plan

Lawmakers from both sides of the political fence spoke out against the idea of using USDA funds to bail out refiners that are denied exemptions from the nation’s biofuel blending laws. Reuters issued a report saying the administration is considering up to $300 million in financial relief to refiners who are denied waivers from the Renewable Fuels Standard, which requires them to blend biofuels into their fuel or to purchase credits for the 2019 compliance year. Five anonymous sources said the funds could come from within the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation. The idea isn’t sitting well with lawmakers because those funds are supposed to assist farmers and not the oil industry. Ranking Senate Ag Committee member Debbie Stabenow called the idea “outrageous” during comments on the Senate floor. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who sits on the other side of the political fence from Stabenow, says the USDA funds were meant for struggling farmers. “It’s not a surprise that Big Oil is looking elsewhere for government handouts,” a Grassley spokesman says. Refinery groups say the administration should instead focus on making the cost of the Renewable Fuels Standard less burdensome on refiners.