Last week, Chairman of the US House Committee on Agriculture, Collin Peterson, together with Representatives Dusty Johnson, Dave Loebsack, Rodney Davis and Roger Marshall introduced the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019.
The legislation aims to bring transparency to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) small refinery exemption (SRE) programme under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The bill will also set a deadline for refineries to submit petitions for RFS exemptions of 1 June to ensure that any waivers granted are ‘prospectively reallocated to non-exempt obligated parties, as well as require that key information surrounding the SREs is publicly available’, according to a statement from the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).
“ACE thanks Chairman Peterson and Rep. Johnson for bipartisan legislation to correct EPA’s brazen mismanagement of the RFS small refinery exemption provision,” said ACE CEO Brian Jennings. “Under President Trump, EPA has retroactively granted more than 50 so-called hardship waivers for small refineries, erasing 2.61 billion gallons worth of the RFS blending obligations for 2016 and 2017 compliance years, and has 39 more requests pending for 2018.
“The uptick of waivers without reallocation as required by law has undermined Congressional intent of the RFS. This legislation would help ensure EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions is put to a stop by requiring timely reallocation of any granted waiver and ensuring the statutory RFS volumes are enforced. ACE is grateful for the leadership of Chairman Peterson and Rep. Johnson to help get the RFS back on track by following the rule of law.”
In a statement of support for the legislation, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said: “The real economic hardship is happening in our nation’s farm belt, and not among its largest refiners. In 2018, Big Oil saw record profits, while in America’s heartland, quarterly farm income has dropped $11.8 billion since December and ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years – contributing to the steepest drop in farm income since 2016. The rapid escalation of small refinery exemptions compounds these factors, and makes an already-bleak economic environment even worse.
“We applaud Reps. Collin Peterson, Dusty Johnson, Dave Loebsack, and Rodney Davis for their steadfast commitment to supporting a fair and open process for small refinery exemptions. There is an urgent need to address the lack of transparency over small refinery exemptions, and reallocate the 2.6 billion lost gallons of biofuels demand as a result of these continued handouts to oil refineries.”