Is President Obama caving in to Big Oil and giving up his goal for more and greener fuel?

That's what the ethanol industry has charged in an urgent letter to the White House now that a draft Environmental Protection Agency proposal to significantly cut production of ethanol-mixed fuels for cars and trucks has been leaked.

“We are extremely troubled by early reports suggesting that instead of staying on course and pushing the oil industry,” said the letter from 25 chemical and biotech firms and organizations, the administration plans to “reward the oil companies for refusing to comply with the program.”

It added: “This proposal is diametrically opposed to your Climate Action plan ... is a step backwards.”

In his second Inaugural Address, the president made global warming a top priority, but the EPA's leaked proposal on fuel standards suggests the White House is reversing course on current policies and agreeing with the oil industry opposed to boosting the amount of ethanol-mixed fuel. The EPA has not issued a final ruling.

The letter from Fuels America and signed by members DuPont, Monsanto, Novozymes, POET, biggest ethanol producer in the country, the National Corn Growers Association, and others, warns that cutting the renewable fuels standards mandate for 2014 and 2015 by 6 percent from current levels will crush grain farmers, boost unemployment and increase gas prices.

The draft would change a 2007 law mandating production of 18 billion gallons of total renewable fuel use, cutting it to 15 billion gallons.

“It is a sign of a nation willing to cede its leadership role in moving toward low carbon transportation fuels, unwilling to stay on track with its statutory responsibilities when faced with opposition from incumbent industries,” said the letter.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at