May 25, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) in introducing the bipartisanRFS Integrity Act of 2021. This legislation would provide more certainty for rural America by bringing transparency and predictability to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) small refinery exemption process. The bill would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1st of each year. This change would ensure that the EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) it sets each November.
“Farmers across Illinois and throughout the Midwest are hurting and ethanol plants are idling as a result of years of misuse of the small refinery exemption program that undermined the intent of the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard,”said Senator Duckworth.“I am proud to work with Senator Fischer to introduce this bipartisan legislation to bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process and prevent it from being misused to benefit billion dollar oil companies at the expense of hardworking Americans again.”
“The EPA’s very opaque small refinery exemption process is unfair to hardworking farmers and ethanol producers across rural America. By ensuring the EPA accounts for exempted gallons in the annual RVO process, my bipartisan bill will uphold the integrity of the RFS and bring much needed transparency to this exemption process,”said Senator Fischer.
This legislation fixes the unnecessarily complex “rolling deadline” by setting a deadline for refineries to apply for an SRE by June 1 in the year before the RVO is in effect, giving the EPA sufficient time to ensure exemptions are accounted for in the annual RVO process. It further requires the EPA to publish the name of the refinery and how many gallons are exempted on their dashboard at the same time the refiner is notified that they received an exemption.
The bill is supported by the American Soybean Association, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation and the Renewable Fuels Association.
Senator Duckworth has been a longtime supporter of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) policy. In February, after weeks of leading an effort calling on the Biden administration to take such action, she applauded the Administration’s decision to support farmers and rural communities by restoring RFS policy, which supports a $5 billion biofuel industry in Illinois that employs more than 4,000 people. Last Congress, Duckworth introduced the RFS Integrity Act of 2019 to make applications for small refinery exemptions (SRE) public and create more certainty for rural America.
Read the original press release here.