A leading ethanol group reacted vigorously on Friday to media reports of a proposed easing of biofuel requirements next year, calling for U.S. agencies to investigate the leak of a draft Environmental Protection Agency document.
On Thursday, Reuters and other news outlets reported on EPA documents that showed the agency proposing a reduction in the amount of corn-based ethanol that would be required for blending into gasoline next year, a retreat from the landmark 2007 law and a major victory for the oil industry.
Coming after months of an intensifying lobbying and political battle between oil refiners and ethanol groups, the reports were met with immediate skepticism from many in the biofuel industry, some questioning the documents’ authenticity.
On Friday, ethanol group Growth Energy said it would not comment on “unverified ‘draft’ documents” that were still under review, a process stalled by the government shutdown.
The EPA documents seen by Reuters could not be independently verified, and an EPA spokeswoman has not commented on them. They were dated Aug. 26 and Sept. 6, around the same time that the agency submitted its proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which must still approve them. It was not clear whether the documents had been updated before submission.
The Department of Justice could not be reached for comment, and DOJ representatives are less available than usual because of the partial government shutdown. In general, the Department of Justice does not confirm investigations that have yet to be confirmed by the targets.