Washington, DC — Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) joined his fellow co-Chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Cindy Axne (D-IA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Mark Pocan (D-WI), in introducing bipartisan legislation to ensure transparency and predictability to the Environmental Protection Agency’s small refinery exemption (SRE) process.
The Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act would require small refineries to submit a petition for a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemption by June 1st of each year, allowing EPA to properly account for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations set each November. The bill would also increase transparency by mandating the public disclosure of data surrounding SREs – a process that has previously been carried out behind closed doors with little to no congressional oversight.
“Now, more than ever, transparency in fuel markets is vital for our farmers and biofuels producers,” said Representative Adrian Smith. “The Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act will ensure all parties can make production decisions knowing they can rely on EPA to fairly and evenly enforce the RFS.”
By law, the RFS requires that the EPA make adjustments when determining future biofuels targets to account for waivers to ensure that the overall biofuels targets are not reduced by waivers. However, in recent years, the agency has not accounted for these waivers, which has undercut the demand for biofuels. And under the Trump Administration, the EPA greatly expanded the number of small refinery hardship biofuel waivers that were issued, including exemptions to Exxon Mobil and Chevron. By issuing 85 waivers under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA saved the oil industry hundreds of millions of dollars while threatening rural economies and harming the biofuels industry at large.
The bipartisan bill is supported by the National Corn Growers, Growth Energy, Fuels America, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Biodiesel Board, the American Soybean Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Farmers Union.