Sen. Tom Carper sent a letter March 16 to President Donald Trump urging him to instruct the Environmental Protection Agency, in coordination with other federal agencies, to take actions that would stabilize price volatility in the Renewable Identification Number market within the Renewable Fuel Standard program.

In 2017 alone, RIN prices fluctuated from around 30 cents to more than $1 — a more than 300 percent price fluctuation.

“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,” wrote Carper. “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.”

“Over the past four years, RIN prices have fluctuated wildly. In the past year alone, RIN prices have fluctuated from around thirty cents to over a dollar. 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,” wrote Carper.

“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,” wrote Carper.

Carper urged Trump to instruct EPA to be more transparent and provide more trading data to market participants — without disclosing proprietary information — from EPA’s RIN tracking program, the Moderated Transaction System; instruct EPA to collect better data to detect and prevent RIN market manipulation; and instruct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to have a more active role with EPA to help monitor RIN market behavior.

The letter is available at