April 30, 2018
Investigation Needed Into Billionaire Icahn Receiving an EPA ‘Hardship’ Waiver Worth Tens of Millions
Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program
Well, this is interesting. Billionaire Carl Icahn served as special regulatory adviser to President Donald Trump. He sought, unsuccessfully, to repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard. But perhaps it is Icahn who’s getting the last laugh.
News that the EPA granted a waiver worth tens of millions to a company controlled by Icahn, a close friend of Trump’s, raises concerns about the lack of transparency over the agency’s waiver granting process. The EPA gave Icahn’s refineries a hardship waiver, even though Icahn’s two refineries posted a combined gross profit of $286 million in 2017 and $115 million in the first three months of 2018.
Reporting suggests that the EPA is granting more of these waivers than ever before, but the government officially keeps waiver recipients secret. Because the granting of waivers affects the markets, they should be public. Congress should investigate the increased number of waivers the EPA is issuing. The EPA inspector general should look into this waiver and determine if it was aboveboard, given Icahn’s relationship to the president and the recent revelation that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Icahn’s efforts to influence Trump’s biofuels policy.