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United States President Donald Trump speaks during his Keep America Great Rally at the Civic Center in Lake Charles, La., Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

President Trump has made a major move in the energy field that triggered a quick response from managers of major oil refineries around the country. Leaders of five Louisiana refineries, in a letter to the American Press, expressed their concerns about the increased use of ethanol in gasoline.

One news report said boosting biofuel-blending quotas to make up for expected exemptions beginning in 2021 is Trump’s effort to shift course on relieving some oil refineries of requirements to use biofuel such as cornbased ethanol. It is considered a political move to placate farmers, ethanol producers and political leaders in farm states.

The state oil industry response came from officials at Phillips 66 Lake Charles at Westlake, the Marathon Refinery at Garyville, Chalmette Refining (PBF Energy), Valero St. Charles Refinery at Destrehan and Valero Meraux Refinery at Chalmette. Leaders of those refineries said in order to continue his “win-win energy policies,” the president should continue recognizing that mandating overly aggressive biofuel volumes threatens Louisiana consumers’ pocketbooks and refining jobs.

Increasing unachievable biofuel mandates jeopardizes state refineries, they said, and others across the country. The 17 refineries in the state have the capability to process over 3.3 million barrels of crude oil per day, which is 18 percent of the nation’s total refining capacity.

The refinery leaders said those facilities sustain nearly 127,000 jobs and contribute over $29 billion to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A recent report said the state’s GDP is higher than it has ever been.

“Under pressure from the biofuel lobby, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) already has experience mandating biofuel gallons at levels above what consumers can afford, and higher than what many engines and infrastructure can handle,” the managers said.

The news for farmers, ethanol producers, refiners and consumers is already good, they said, adding that a higher percentage of ethanol has been blended into gasoline this year compared to last. “But now special interests that profit from the complex structure of the mandate seem to have convinced President Trump to reverse course,” they said.

The state refinery leaders in their letter urge President Trump to continue honoring his promise to America’s manufacturing workers with a sensible policy that keeps the mandated biofuel volumes reasonable and compliance costs in check. They and others in the industry say the biofuel mandates “undermine the very communities at the center of his ‘America First’ and ‘Energy Dominance’ agendas.”


This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Crystal Stevenson, John GuidrozMike Jones and Jim Beam.

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