Bipartisan Group Of Senators Urge Trump To Uphold RFS

  • Thursday, 07 May 2020 15:33

A bipartisan group of 24 senators, led by Sen. Tina Smith, have sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to reject requests from five state governors to have the RFS waived. 

In mid-April, governors from Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah and Louisiana - all oil-producing states - asked the EPA to waive renewable volume obligations under the RFS due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the oil industry.

However, the senators, which included Sen. Amy Klobuchar, said the oil industry's current struggles was a result ofg oversupply from international competitors and falling demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, not the RFS.

"The RFS already accommodates demand reductions and provides flexibility to reflect the reality of motor fuel demand. EPA translates the annual RFS requirements into a percentage share of gasoline and diesel. Thus, the existing structure of the RFS regulations already results in an oil refiner’s renewable volume obligations being proportionally reduced if overall motor fuel demand drops over the year," the senators wrote.

Furthermore, they said RIN prices do not negatively impact refiners while there is a record supply of RINs available thanks to the EPA's abuse of the small refinery exemption waivers. 

"Waiving the RFS would cause further harm to the U.S. economy, especially our most vulnerable rural communities. It would also exacerbate the effects experienced by the biofuel sector as a result of COVID-19, causing far-reaching detrimental impacts on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices, and the environment. The resiliency of America’s renewable fuel industry has already suffered as a result of the EPA’s drastic expansion of the small refinery waiver program in recent years," they wrote.

With the current pandemic, they said more than 70 ethanol plants throughout the country have already idled production while "approximately 70 more plants have reduced their operating rates by a combined amount of 1.9 billion gallons annualized."

"Biofuel plant closures have ripple effects through the U.S. economy. Farm income is directly linked to the health of the renewable fuel industry. Plant shutdowns are causing commercial CO2 supply shortages and inhibiting the ability of meatpackers and other food sectors to refrigerate, preserve, and supply food and beverages at current, affordable rates. Ethanol plants also produce low cost, high-protein animal feed (distillers grains). Supply shortages as a result of biofuel plant closures are impacting livestock feed procurement, rations, and prices," they said.

Read the full letter here