The regulatory action is critical for fuel retailers that face the risk of violating federal pollution rules if they sell E15 in some areas this summer before the rule change goes through. Some retailers may opt to forgo offering E15 this summer out of fear the change won't be formalized in time.
While most regulatory delays at the EPA and Interior Department won't create "immediate market impacts," the E15 measure is an exception because of the potential effect on the summertime driving season, said Kevin Book, managing director of the Washington, D.C.-based research firm ClearView Energy Partners.
When a tit-for-tat tariff war prompted China to impose a levy on imports of U.S. farm products, Trump set up a program to provide aid to farmers who lost sales. But the Agriculture Department office that processes the applications is shut. The department on Tuesday said farmers would be given additional time to apply.
Similarly, U.S. companies can seek exemptions from Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs on certain imported products that aren't produced in sufficient quantities or of sufficient quality domestically. But the department stopped processing those requests during the shutdown, a Commerce Department spokesman said.
Trump also campaigned with a promise to upgrade U.S. roads, bridges and other infrastructure, but the shutdown could cause states to delay seeking bids or starting work on projects as long as expected federal funding isn't distributed, said Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
"States are not going to be letting new projects because of the uncertainty associated with the federal program,'" Tymon said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
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(With assistance from Jenny Leonard, Andrew Mayeda, Mark Niquette and Rachel Adams-Heard.)
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