Peterson, Johnson Introduce Bill to Stop the EPA from Undermining the RFS
WASHINGTON- Representatives Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and the co-chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 which establishes an annual June 1st deadline for refineries to submit small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions from their RFS blending obligations each year and increases transparency in the process.
“It is clear to me that EPA is abusing its authority by recklessly handing out small refinery waivers and refusing to account for them,” said Peterson. “This is hurting farmers and agriculture communities at the worst time. This bill ends the gamesmanship in the waiver process and increases transparency along the way.”
“The EPA has let oil refiners off the hook by circumventing congressional intent, putting ethanol producers at a disadvantage,” said Johnson. “The Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act makes sure that moving forward, the EPA’s waiver process will be fair, timely, and transparent.”
Since 2018, EPA granted 54 waivers to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons being taken out of the market place. By law, the RFS requires that the EPA make adjustments when determining future biofuels targets to account for waivers to ensure that the overall biofuels targets are not reduced by waivers. However, the agency is not accounting for these waivers and the demand for biofuels is being undercut.
By setting a June 1st petition submission deadline each year, the EPA will have time to account for renewable fuel gallons stripped from the market due to these waivers. The bill also increases transparency in the process by making information with respect to a petition subject to public disclosure.
The bill is supported by Growth Energy, Fuels America, National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, MN Corn Growers Association and MN BioFuels Association.
“Minnesota’s corn farmers greatly appreciate the work of Congressman Collin Peterson to bring much-needed transparency and a formal timeline to the EPA’s small refinery exemption process. Our state’s ethanol industry is a vital market for its 24,000 corn farmers, who continue to be impacted by exemptions taking billions of ethanol gallons from the nation’s fuel supply. This bill would make it possible to recoup future lost gallons while identifying what refineries are qualifying for an exemption.”-Brian Thalmann, President, Minnesota Corn Growers Association