The re-evaluation for the biofuel industry started weeks ago, when a leaked document indicated the Obama administration planned to make cuts to the policy underpinning the U.S. renewable fuel market.

Industry groups and insiders thought they had friends inside the administration who would act as a firewall to any changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. So the industry concentrated its resources — complete with a new, unified lobbying campaign — on Congress to block changes to the biofuel blending mandate.

In the end, that belief in the White House proved to be false confidence. On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cuts to next year’s blending target that the biofuel industry contends could threaten long-term growth in next-generation technologies.

Biofuel groups searched for the words to describe the administration’s gut punch. They found few.

“I think it’s fair to say we thought we had more support in the administration than we did. And we thought that based on public statements and private assurances from the administration,” an industry source said.

“It clearly caught folks by surprise,” said Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association.

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