King Asks EPA to End Small Refinery Exemptions for Large Refiners
35 Members of Congress seek end to SRE’s and reallocation of previously waived gallons
Washington, D.C.- Congressman Steve King today releases the text of a bipartisan letter sent yesterday afternoon to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler by 35 Members of Congress which seeks an end to the EPA’s practice of issuing Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE’s) to “large or unqualified refiners.” In addition, the letter requests that the EPA reallocate previously waived gallons. The letter states that “the unprecedented rate of granting waivers is a betrayal of our rural communities, detrimental to our energy security, and threatens our entire agricultural sector at a time of declining incomes and rising debts for our producers.”
King also announces that he is drafting legislation to address an issue involving the use of RIN waivers. Under King’s proposal, the volume requirements of the RFS must increase by the same amount of credited volume so that the obligations of the RFS can not be evaded. The proposed King legislation would apply retroactively.
“I am the strongest Congressional supporter of the Renewable Fuels Standard, and I know that the use of small refinery exemptions is undercutting the RFS and hurting our famers and our biofuels industry,” said King. “I have expressed my concerns about improper SRE’s directly to President Trump, and I am reaffirming my opposition to this practice to EPA Administrator Wheeler. The RFS is the Law of the Land, and I am pleased to join in a bipartisan fashion with 34 of my colleagues on this letter to bring the EPA’s practice of granting suspect waivers to an end.”
The 35 Members of Congress who signed the letter are: Cindy Axne (D-IA), Adrian Smith (R-NE), David Scott (D-GA), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Steve King (R-IA), David Loebsack (D-IA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Angie Craig (D-MN), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), Ron Estes (R-KS), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Mike Bost (R-IL), Michael Turner (R-OH), Steve Watkins (R-KS), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Ron Kind (D-WI), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Bill Foster (D-IL), James Baird (R-IN).
The letter reads as follows:
May 7th, 2019
The Honorable Andrew Wheeler
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
We request you immediately end the practice of granting Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for large or unqualified refiners. Recently, the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) updated its public SRE list, bringing the total number of approved SRE requests to 54 since President Trump took office without a single denial. This unprecedented rate of granting waivers is a betrayal of our rural communities, detrimental to our energy security, and threatens our entire agricultural sector at a time of declining incomes and rising debts for our producers. EPA must halt this process and reallocate waived gallons as the law intends.
The RFS requires renewable fuel to be blended into petroleum-based fuel in increasing amounts each year from its introduction up to 36 billion gallons of blended fuel by 2022, with blending targets for following years to be set by EPA. Continually granting unjustified SREs and failing to reallocate the waived gallons effectively lowers annual blending targets, contrary to the letter and intent of the law. These waivers increase market uncertainty for biofuel producers and farmers – and ultimately every American consumer. At a time when our rural communities are already hurting, these SREs have caused a loss of 2.6 billion gallons of renewable fuel blending and almost a billion bushels of corn demand.
Granting exemptions to the RFS increases American dependence on foreign oil. By continually waiving the requirements of the RFS for small refineries, the EPA fosters uncertainty about the program creating uncertainty for those interested in investing and developing America’s biofuel industry. Further it disincentivizes refineries from taking the steps necessary to begin to meet the standards set by the RFS and make domestic biofuels available to consumers.
The right decision is clear. We request the EPA stop granting improper SRE requests immediately and distribute the gallons waived in previous years.
In addition, the letter and signatories can be seen here.