Reps. Axne, Smith Lead Bipartisan Effort to Stop EPA's Abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA-03) and Adrian Smith (R-NE-03) led a bipartisan group of 35 Representatives in urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop issuing Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) for large or unqualified refiners under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program. In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Members highlighted that the expansion of biofuel waivers hurts farmers who rely on demand for corn-based ethanol and other biofuels and has increased our dependence on foreign oil.
“Our farmers and rural communities rely on a thriving biofuels market to support their families and create good-paying jobs. Increasing Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) waivers not only threatens our energy security, but stifles competition in an industry that is an economic driver and job creator across Iowa and the Midwest,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to meet our RFS goals and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.”
“Waiving the Renewable Fuels Standard impedes the biofuels market and limits consumers’ options at the pump,” Rep. Smith said. “I look forward to working with the Administration to keep our commitments to the biofuels industry, which in turn will help foster the development of greater American energy independence.”
The EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program requires a specific, set volume of renewable fuel to replace or reduce the quantity of petroleum based fuels. Under the RFS program, a small refinery can be granted a temporary exemption from RFS requirements if compliance would prevent them from being profitable. However, the EPA has recently loosened the requirements for SREs, enabling refineries owned by major oil companies to receive these waivers. Not only have these waivers reduced the United States’ ability to meet our RFS goals, but they decrease the demand for Midwestern corn and bio products and hurt our farmers.
In addition to Rep. Axne and Adrian Smith, David Scott (D-GA-13), Darin LaHood (R-IL-18), Roger Marshall M.D. (R-KS-01), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND-AL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01), Steve King (R-IA-04), David Loebsack (D-IA-02), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA-01), Don Bacon (R-NE-02), Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Dusty Johnson (R-SD-AL), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO-05), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01), Ron Estes (R-KS-04), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN-07), Michael R. Turner (R-OH-10), Steve Watkins (R-KS-02), Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ-01), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-03), Mike Bost (R-IL-12), Ron Kind (D-WI-03), Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), James R. Baird (R-IN-04).
The full text of the letter is available here.