NCGA today applauded legislation introduced by Sens. Deb Fisher, R-Neb., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., to bring transparency and accountability to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).
Similar to the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 introduced in the House, the Senate bill, S. 1840, would set a deadline for refineries to apply for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process. The Senators’ bill also includes specific actions EPA must take within the annual Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume rule to account for and reallocate waived gallons and requires EPA to report to Congress with a justification for each waiver granted. Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are original co-sponsors of S. 1840.
Within the past year, EPA has granted 54 exemptions to refineries, waiving 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel blending under the RFS. EPA has another 39 waiver petitions pending, with decisions from EPA expected in the coming weeks.
The legislation’s introduction follows another Senate effort this week, led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Duckworth, calling on EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to “cease issuing any further small refinery exemptions, immediately reallocate the remaining gallons, and make public the information regarding any recipients of these exemptions.”
NCGA appreciates Senators proposing solutions to stop the waiver abuse and calling on the Administration to address the harm SREs are causing to the RFS and demand for farmers. At an event to welcome year-round sales of E15 at a Council Bluffs, Iowa, ethanol plant Tuesday, NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross cautioned President Trump that EPA’s oil refinery waivers threaten to undo the benefits provided by year-round E15.
NCGA thanks the Senators for their continued efforts this week and encourages lawmakers to support S. 1840 in the Senate and H.R. 3006 in the House of Representatives.