Axne, Ernst blast Supreme Court RFS ruling

July 1, 2021
In The News

Two KMAland congressional representatives vow to fight for Iowa's renewable fuel industry following a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

By a 6-to-3 vote late last week, the high court struck down the 10th Circuit Court decision that found refiners can only apply for an extension of an exemption from the Renewable Fuels Standard volume obligation if they have continuously received refinery exemption extensions every year. Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst commented on the ruling in separate interviews on KMA's "Morning Line" program this week. Axne and other biofuel supporters in the U.S. House met with EPA Secretary Michael Regan Wednesday to discuss the issue, and how the ruling will affect Midwestern states. The West Des Moines Democrat says the court's decision "flies in the face" of policy that's been in the books for more than 15 years.

"Listen, we've been dealing with uncertainty in the market for years now," said Axne. "We finally had some uncertainty taken out with the 10th Circuit actually ruling in our favor. But now, we have increased uncertainty again. So, we're fighting hard, as I always do, for Iowa farmers and our biofuels industry to ensure that everyone in the administration who has any responsibility over the policy that should stay just as it is knows why that is so important for our jobs, for our rural communities, and for, honestly, the economy in this country."

Ernst also expressed disappointment in the ruling. The Red Oak Republican adds the situation also leads to the question as to whether President Biden truly supports the renewable fuel industry.

"It just makes the stakes absolutely clear with the Biden Administration and our EPA," said Ernst. "They can side with America's farmers and producers, or they can side with big oil. It really comes down to the EPA.

"No matter what, Iowans can always be sure that I'm going to stand for biofuels. I'll continue to fight tooth and nail for this industry," she added.

Ernst says she hopes President Biden stands by his campaign promise to make it tougher for the Environmental Protection Agency to grant Renewable Fuel Standard waivers to big oil refineries.

"This is where President Biden has to stand strong," she said. "He shouldn't be granting exemptions to big oil."

Earlier in the week, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said the high court ruling that the EPA can grant small oil refiners extensions of expired ethanol waivers means the long-running industry battle continues. Both interviews with Congresswoman Cindy Axne and Senator Joni Ernst are available on our "Morning Line" page.