Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Carl Icahn, the billionaire owner of the oil company CVR Energy and a former Trump adviser, has been granted a waiver exempting him from a regulation meant to cut air pollution. (Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Federal Probe Demanded After Trump's Billionaire Pal Carl Icahn Receives EPA Waiver Worth Tens of Millions

The owner of CVR Energy served as Trump's regulatory adviser and met with EPA administrator Scott Pruitt ahead of his nomination

Julia Conley

After reporting a net income of $234.4 million last year, billionaire investor Carl Icahn—a former regulatory adviser to President Donald Trump—has received a "financial hardship" waiver from the EPA, exempting his oil company from complying with fuel regulations.

As Reuters reported, the waiver is meant for small oil refineries that can prove that compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program would cause them "disproportionate financial hardship."

The RFS program requires large oil companies to mix biofuels like ethanol with oil and gas to cut down on air pollution, support corn farmers, and reduce gas imports. Companies are required to earn or purchase tradable credits for each gallon of blended fuel, to prove compliance.

Icahn's company stands to save tens of millions of dollars per year thanks to the exemption, which had previously been denied by the Obama administration.

In response to the news, the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen demanded an immediate investigation into the waiver:

Icahn has long fought for the elimination of the RFS program, sending former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy an 11-page letter in 2016 calling the credit market "rigged" and complaining that it could send refineries into bankruptcy.

Icahn was an early supporter of Trump and met with Scott Pruitt in late 2016, weeks before he was named EPA administrator, according to reports at the time. 

"This one's going to be hard for Pruitt to explain," Brooke Coleman, head of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council industry group, told Reuters of the EPA's decision to grant CVR Energy the RFS waiver.

The businessman stepped down from his position as Trump's regulatory adviser last summer after lawmakers raised concerns that he was influencing biofuel policy and using his access to the president to benefit his financial investments. Icahn is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·

US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·

'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·

Health Minister Says 'Highly Transmissible' Omicron Hitting Young Children Hard in South Africa

In South Africa's worst-affected province, children under the age of five now make up the second-largest group being admitted to hospitals.

Julia Conley ·

Groups Tell UN Food Agency to Ditch 'Toxic Alliance' With Pesticide Association

"This partnership with CropLife is in direct conflict with FAO's mandate as a U.N. institution to fulfill human rights to health, adequate food, clean water and environment, and safe working conditions."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo