A bipartisan group of 16 Senators urged Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately reject the 52 recently filed exemption petitions for prior compliance years. The letter expresses the Senators’ frustration and alarm that Administrator Wheeler is considering exemptions for refineries that either did not submit petitions or were not granted waivers in past years but are now seeking to circumvent a January 2020 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) led the bipartisan letter with Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years. In the letter, the senators warn that granting these petitions would worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and demand that the EPA apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.
“We urge you to reject these petitions outright and respond in writing to our questions about recent use of SREs under the RFS. These petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit decision, Congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and — most importantly — the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry,” the senators wrote. “The approval of SREs for past compliance years at this moment would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports. EPA must deny these petitions and apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.”
The National Biodiesel Board thanked the bipartisan group of 16 Senators for the effort.
“Biodiesel producers and soybean farmers across the country are already facing unprecedented economic challenges. A brand-new flood of unlawful small refinery exemptions is guaranteed to compound the damage from the past several years,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s VP of Federal Affairs. “The Senators are exactly right that EPA should immediately reject these petitions as inconsistent with a federal court decision. We thank Senators Amy Klobuchar and Joni Ernst for their leadership.”