Oil industry threatens to sue Trump over ethanol waiver

Source: By John Siciliano and Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The oil industry on Monday threatened to the sue the Trump administration if it carries out the president’s announced plan to relax rules to allow higher ethanol blends to be sold year-round.

“We think it’s against the law,” said Frank Macchiarola, the American Petroleum Institute’s vice president of downstream and industry operations, on a call with reporters.“We are going to consider all of our legal options” to ensure “this policy is not enacted.”

President Trump has directed Environmental Protection Agency acting administrator Andrew Wheeler to issue new regulations to allow the sale of 15-percent ethanol fuel year-round. Currently, sales are limited to eight months of the year.

Against the law: Trump’s decision “is contrary to the clear letter of the law,” Macchiarola continued.

The oil group argues that the EPA, under the Clean Air Act, cannot change the regulations by way of administrative action. Instead, the change must be enacted by Congress.

The large oil group also released the results of polling on Monday that showed a majority of voters disagree with the Trump administration’s decision. The poll is being released one week before the midterm elections.

The Harris poll showed that 79 percent of voters are concerned about expanded sales of 15-percent ethanol fuel because of the potential damage it could cause to car engines.

Eighty-three percent of voters are concerned that consumers could face higher fuel prices if gasoline stations are forced to invest in new pumps to provide the higher ethanol fuels.