In the 2020 Interior appropriations bill, the provision for Small Refinery Relief states: “The Agency is reminded that, regardless of the Department of Energy’s recommendation, additional relief may be granted if the Agency believes it is warranted.”
According to the RFA, for the 2016 to 2018 RFS compliance years, the DOE recommended an average of 7.3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel be exempted from RFS obligations but the EPA actually exempted a staggering average of 12.8 billion gallons. In total, the EPA has granted 85 waivers amounting to 4 billion gallons of ethanol for those compliance years.
Klobuchar said the language in the 2020 Interior appropriations bill will allow the EPA to continue issuing waivers above the DOE’s recommendation.
“While the administration must cease issuing any further improper refinery exemptions, as I have been calling for since these abuses began, we can start supporting our farmers and rural communities by removing this harmful provision from the Interior appropriations bill during conference negotiations,” she said.
Smith said the EPA’s abuse of the small refinery waivers have hit the agriculture and ethanol industries in Minnesota hard, citing the recent closure of the Corn Plus Ethanol plant in Winnebago.
She also referenced our executive director, Tim Rudnicki’s, recent testimony to the EPA on its supplemental proposal for small refinery waiver reallocations.
“In Mr Rudnicki’s remarks, he said that the current EPA is ‘driving renewable biofuels backwards and toward the cliff.’ I couldn’t agree more,” Smith said.
Other senators who opposed the small refinery waiver provision in the bill were Sen. Dick Durbin from Illinois and Sen. Debbie Stabenow from Michigan.