| March 16
March 16 Six U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday
stepped up efforts to get more clarity from the White House and
chief of the Environmental Protection Agency on Carl Icahn's
role as special adviser on regulations to President Donald
The lawmakers, including Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, in letters to the White
House counsel and to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, raised
concerns about the billionaire investor's conflicts of
interests. They highlighted his involvement with a potential
overhaul of the U.S. biofuels program.
Icahn has weighed in on the issue, which could cut millions
of dollars in costs for refiners like CVR Energy Inc, in
which he owns an 82 percent stake.
"We are concerned that his substantial and widespread
private-sector investments present perverse incentives for Mr.
Icahn in his role as a special adviser to the President," the
letter to White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II said.
Previous letters seeking details on Icahn's role have gone
unanswered amid signs of Icahn's involvement on the issue, the
Efforts to reach Icahn or his representatives were not
Oil refiners like CVR Energy and Valero Energy Corp have
pressed for a change to the Renewable Fuel Standard to meet
annual biofuel standards from further downstream to companies
like fuel retailers.
The Renewable Fuel Standard requires oil refiners blend
biofuels with gasoline and diesel, or buy credits from firms
that have. Refiners have asked the government to shift those
requirements from them further downstream to fuel retailers.
The RFS has become a battleground between entrenched farm
and oil interests.
A biofuels lobbyist earlier this month said Icahn told him
an executive order on the issue was forthcoming, a claim that
both the adviser and the White House have denied.
The events of the last two weeks have underscored worries
over Icahn's conflicts of interest, the senators said.
Icahn "has taken the first opportunity to leverage his
newfound political power for his own personal gain," the letter
stated, as the senators pressed for more specifics on his
conversations with the Trump and Pruitt on the matter.
Icahn has weighed in heavily on this issue as costs for oil
refiners hit record levels in 2016. In August, he pressed the
EPA under former President Barack Obama to overhaul the market
for renewable fuels credits.
Prices of those credits tumbled over a third on the day the
White House denied any plans to issue an executive order on the
matter. Shares of CVR stock jumped as much as 8 percent that
(Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Dan Grebler)