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Senators call on EPA to reject SREs for past years

Letter led by Senators Ernst, Grassley, Klobuchar and Duckworth calls for EPA to apply 10th Circuit decision nationally.

A bipartisan group of 16 senators is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard for past compliance years.

In the letter led by Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., the senators warn that granting these petitions would worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and demand that the EPA apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.

“We urge you to reject these petitions outright and respond in writing to our questions about recent use of SREs under the RFS. These petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit decision, Congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and – most importantly – the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry,” the senators wrote.

“The approval of SREs for past compliance years at this moment would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports. EPA must deny these petitions and apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.”

“We applaud this bipartisan group of senators for exposing the absurdity of the oil industry’s latest ploy to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard," said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. "EPA’s failure to comply with the recent Tenth Circuit Court decision is prolonging uncertainty and exacerbating economic harm in rural America, which was already reeling from the effects of COVID-19 on the agriculture and biofuels sector. RFA agrees with these Senate leaders that granting “gap-year” small refinery exemptions would not only be illegal, but it would also worsen the demand destruction that renewable fuel producers have already endured at the hands of EPA in recent years. We proudly join these Senators in calling on EPA to immediately deny the ‘gap-year’ petitions and apply the Tenth Circuit decision nationally."

Other senators who signed the letter: Tina Smith, D-Minn., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., John Thune, R-S.D., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

RFSRFS waiver requests

What others are saying

“These 52 exemption requests are nothing more than an egregious and unjustified attempt to undermine the RFS and the rule of law. Every single one of them should be rejected,” said Monte Shaw, Executive Director of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

“Soybean farmers were appalled to learn EPA is considering more than 50 petitions for retroactive small refinery exemptions," said Tim Bardole, President of Iowa Soybean Association. "This is just the latest in a string of attempts to sidestep the law, undercut the Renewable Fuel Standard, and kill soybean demand."

“Biodiesel producers, farmers and rural communities need the EPA and Administrator Wheeler to deny these petitions and stop the misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS,” said Grant Kimberly, Executive Director of Iowa Biodiesel Board.

“There is no justification for allowing these petitions to hang over the market, injecting uncertainty into America’s agricultural recovery. EPA needs to dismiss the oil industry’s latest attempt to destroy demand for American biofuels and restore integrity to the RFS,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. 

"Biodiesel producers and soybean farmers across the country are already facing unprecedented economic challenges," said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. "A brand-new flood of unlawful small refinery exemptions is guaranteed to compound the damage from the past several years. The senators are exactly right that EPA should immediately reject these petitions as inconsistent with a federal court decision."

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