Trump camp scrubs energy reform details from site

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, September 19, 2016

Hours after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign released some of its most detailed positions on energy policy, it updated its website with a new document that omits some of the key specifics.

In a fact sheet released to coincide with Trump’s speech to the Economic Club of New York last Thursday, the campaign said the GOP nominee would scrap U.S. EPA’s controversial Renewable Identification Number program, which allows refiners to purchase credits from other companies as a means to comply with the federal renewable fuel standard (E&ENews PM, Sept. 15).

“These [blending] requirements have turned out to be impossible to meet and are bankrupting many of the small and midsize refineries in this country,” said the original document. “These regulations will give Big Oil an oligopoly by destroying the small to midsize refineries.”

Hours later, however, a new version appeared and was still available by press time this afternoon. It omitted the reference to RINs, which echoed the words of billionaire investor and Trump supporter Carl Icahn.

Also scrubbed was a pledge to scrap rules from the Food and Drug Administration’s “food police” and the hotly contested update to EPA’s national ambient air quality standards for ozone, which have been widely panned in Republican circles as unneeded and unattainable.

Instead, the revised document states: “A complete regulatory overhaul will level the playing field for American workers and add trillions in new wealth to our economy — keeping companies here, expanding hiring and investment, and bringing thousands of new companies to our shores.”

In response to questions about the changes, Trump spokesman Jason Miller told media outlets that someone posted an incorrect version of the fact sheet on the website.

“Our commitment to the renewable fuels standard is unshakable and unchanging,” Miller said, according to the Des Moines Register.

The controversy comes days after Trump pledged to “protect the RFS” in a speech in the key swing state of Iowa. It also touches on a split within the oil industry over the RIN program. Smaller, independent refiners complain that it burdens them.

While the RFS overall is loathed across the oil industry, bigger companies with major refining facilities also profit from RINs.

The 2016 Republican national platform adopted at the party’s convention in Cleveland does not address the RFS but pledges to “encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy sources,” including biofuels, by the private sector.

The official party platform does not single out the ozone update by name but vows to “restore” Congress’ authority to determine the limits for pollutants covered by NAAQS.