Senators Smith, Klobuchar, Stabenow, Durbin, Peters, Baldwin, and Brown Call for Stronger Renewable Fuel Standard

  • Tuesday, 27 August 2019 13:20

Senator Smith

Press Release

August 26, 2019

U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—along with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)—is standing up for the nation’s rural economy by urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to end the harmful abuse of small refinery hardship waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Sen. Smith and her colleagues pointed out that under the Trump Administration, the granting of waivers has increased by 370 percent with “small refinery” waivers going to large oil companies. While the president has signaled he wants federal agencies to reverse course on this practice, Sens. Smith, Klobuchar, Stabenow, Durbin, Peters, Baldwin and Brown want actions that live up to this promise.

“This pattern of demand destruction is wreaking havoc on our nation's rural economy. In recent months, more than 13 ethanol plants and 8 biodiesel plants have idled production or shut down across the country,” wrote Sen. Smith and her colleagues to Administrator Wheeler. “Not only did these biofuel plants support thousands of rural jobs across the country, they served as important markets for farmers, processing millions of bushels of corn, soybeans, and other commodities. At a time when farmers are already struggling after years of low prices and a chaotic trade agenda, this Administration chose to destroy more markets for farmers and harm rural communities across the country.”

The senators continued, “to add insult to injury, recent reports indicate that President Trump personally made the decision to grant these 31 waivers, despite numerous promises to support renewable fuels. EPA continues to undercut the integrity of the RFS by misusing its waiver authority, which in turn has a direct adverse impact on farmers and jobs in rural communities. We write to urge you once again to end the abuse of these small refinery exemptions, immediately reallocate the remaining gallons, and make public information regarding any recipients of these exemptions.”

You can access text of the letter here or below:

The Honorable Andrew Wheeler

Administrator

Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Administrator Wheeler,

We are extremely concerned that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to abuse the use of small refinery hardship waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). On Friday, August 8, 2019, the EPA issued another 31 such waivers, effectively reducing demand for renewable fuels by over 1.4 billion gallons. This is on top of the 54 refinery waivers already approved by this Administration over the last two years, which eliminated demand for more than 2.6 billion gallons of biofuels. Comparing the last three years of the previous administration to the first three years of the current administration, the Trump Administration has increased the granting of waivers by an astounding 370 percent, with "small refinery" waivers going to some of the world's largest oil companies.

This pattern of demand destruction is wreaking havoc on our nation's rural economy. In recent months, more than 13 ethanol plants and 8 biodiesel plants have idled production or shut down across the country. Not only did these biofuel plants support thousands of rural jobs across the country, they served as important markets for farmers, processing millions of bushels of corn, soybeans, and other commodities. At a time when farmers are already struggling after years of low prices and a chaotic trade agenda, this Administration chose to destroy more markets for farmers and harm rural communities across the country.

To add insult to injury, recent reports indicate that President Trump personally made the decision to grant these 31 waivers, despite numerous promises to support renewable fuels. EPA continues to undercut the integrity of the RFS by misusing its waiver authority, which in turn has a direct adverse impact on farmers and jobs in rural communities. We write to urge you once again to end the abuse of these small refinery exemptions, immediately reallocate the remaining gallons, and make public information regarding any recipients of these exemptions.

Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.

Sincerely,

Read the original press release: Senators Smith, Klobuchar, Stabenow, Durbin, Peters, Baldwin, and Brown Call for Stronger Renewable Fuel Standard