Sen. Carper urges Trump to take steps to stabilize Renewable Identification Number market

Published on March 20, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

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Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) recently sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with other federal agencies, to take steps to stabilize price volatility in the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market.

In the RIN market, which is a part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, prices fluctuated by more than 300 percent in 2017 from around 30 cents to more than one dollar.

“As someone who has both constituents who benefit from the RFS program and constituents who work at several of the last merchant refineries along the East Coast, I understand full well the difficulty of finding common ground on this issue,” Carper, who is the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in the letter. “The one problem that both constituencies identify as a concern is RIN market manipulation. It’s clear that market manipulation in the RIN market is occurring, and it is causing market volatility and price spikes. It must be addressed in any solution.”

The letter urges Trump to instruct EPA to provide more trading data to market participants without disclosing proprietary information and improve data collection to detect and prevent RIN market manipulation.

Carper also asks the president to instruct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work with EPA to help monitor RIN market behavior.

“This price volatility creates great uncertainty for merchant refineries, like the one in Delaware City, Delaware, that have limited capability to blend biofuels into their products and need RINs to comply with the RFS program’s requirements,” Carper said. “East Coast refineries already face slim profit margins, in part due to their dependence on international markets for crude feedstock, high gasoline inventories, and competition from global refiners. According to my constituents who work at the Delaware City refinery and at the nearby Philadelphia refineries, the viability of the Mid-Atlantic refineries are now threatened because of the volatile RIN market.”