Watchdog calls on IG to probe refiners’ influence on proposed RFS rule

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 23, 2014

A nonprofit legal watchdog today called on U.S. EPA’s inspector general to launch an investigation into whether groups connected with Pennsylvania refineries improperly influenced the agency over the renewable fuel standard.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said it was concerned that investment firm Carlyle Group and Delta Air Lines Inc. — two entities that acquired refineries near Philadelphia in 2012 — had used their political muscle to influence EPA’s proposal to lower the RFS obligations for refineries. EPA’s proposal in November would represent the first-ever rollback of the nation’s biofuel blending mandate.”Given that the agency’s decision to lower renewable fuel standards is an unprecedented break from past practices, the public has a right to know whether this decision was based on policy or politics,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. “The EPA inspector general should immediately investigate.”

An article by Reuters earlier this month highlighted the lobbying efforts by the Carlyle Group and Delta to reduce refineries’ biofuel obligations. The report said that, at the groups’ behest, Pennsylvania lawmakers went as high as the vice president in a bid to convince the White House to lower the RFS requirements.

Greenwire┬ápreviously reported on the increased lobbying by Delta over renewable fuel issues (Greenwire, Oct. 2, 2013) and on the White House’s involvement in the renewable fuel standard proposal (Greenwire, Jan. 6).