The bankruptcy of the East Coast’s biggest oil refiner has raised uncomfortable questions around the politically charged market for ethanol. The controversy has already hit some of the best performing energy companies in the past year. Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which had its bankruptcy plan approved a week ago, was forced to file in large part because of the onerous payouts it had to make to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard, the rules that mandate the use of ethanol in gasoline. Those rules, which took their current form in 2007 under the George W. Bush administration, act as a gigantic subsidy for the Farm Belt and agribusiness companies that turn crops into motor fuel. As part of the bankruptcy, PES had some debts discharged , which is normal. But it got an added boost from the Environmental Protection Agency, which allowed it to shed about half of its accrued […]