Energy & Environment

Trump to announce lifting of ethanol restrictions on Tuesday: report

President Trump is expected to announce Tuesday that he will allow higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline during summer months, Reuters reported.

Reuters, citing two sources familiar with planning of the announcement, reported that Trump will announce that he is lifting a federal ban before leaving for a trip to Iowa. Trump will make the announcement at 3 p.m. Tuesday and is hoping it will help Republicans in midterm elections in the farm belt, according to the news service.

Trump has previously pledged to allow the sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol during the summer months, which the EPA currently prohibits because of concerns over air pollution. The ethanol industry has long pushed for a lift on the ban.

Reuters also reported Thursday that the lifting of the ban will be coupled with "restrictions on trading biofuel credits that underpin the program."

Trump said in July that he was "very close" to lifting the ban.

"I'm very close, I have to tell you, to pulling off something that you've been looking forward to for many years, and that's the 12-month E15 waiver. Very close to doing that. It's a very complex process," he said during an agriculture event in Iowa.

"I stuck with ethanol, most of the other candidates weren't there," Trump added at the time, referring to his commitment throughout the 2016 presidential campaign to ethanol.

Former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt had planned to allow E15 sales year-round as part of a deal between oil and corn interests, but that deal fell apart.

Acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler said in July that he was "talking to the ethanol people, I'm talking to the oil people, all the stakeholders, to see if we can get a new package to move forward" in reference to a potential E15 deal.