Senators ask EPA to explain Icahn’s role in shaping the RFS

By Erin Voegele | June 08, 2017

On June 6, a group of five senators sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting any information the agency has on Carl Icahn’s role in crafting policy and regulations at the EPA, particularly with regard to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

According to information released by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., the senators have repeatedly asked top officials in the Trump administration to explain Icahn’s role as a “special advisor to the president on issues related to regulatory reform” to determine whether it breaks federal conflict of interest law. A statement issued by Whitehouse indicates those requests have gone unanswered while Icahn has noted on several occasions that changes to the RFS could net his business hundreds of millions of dollars.

Icahn is the majority owner of CVR Energy, which is a petroleum refining company involved in the RFS renewable identification number (RIN) market. In late December, he was also named as a special advisor to President Donald Trump on issues related to regulatory reform.

The letter, signed by Sens. Whitehouse, Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.’ Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and Tammy Duckwork, D-Ill., indicates the administration has never formally described the role Icahn plays, the extent of his portfolio, or whether he has recused himself from decisions (or divested himself from financial holdings) that would present conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof.

The senators are requesting the EPA provide them with all communications between the agency and Icahn, any individual acting on his behalf, and those associated with Icahn Enterprises or CRV Energy, along with reports, documents, analyses, briefing materials, information, talking points, summaries or other data shared with Icahn, those acting on his behalf or those associated with his businesses.

Warren, Stabenow, Whitehouse, and Duckworth were also among a separate group of senators that issued a letter in May to the heads of the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and EPA calling for an investigation of Icahn for potential insider trading, market manipulation and other securities and commodities law violations related to the market for renewable identification numbers RINs. That letter was also signed Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. 

A full copy of the June 6 letter can be downloaded from Whitehouse’s website.