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Congress to EPA: Stop Undercutting Farmers with Unjust Big Oil Exemptions
USAgNet - 05/09/2019

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked the 35 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting the agency end the practice of granting small refinery exemptions for large or unqualified refineries and uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The bipartisan letter, led by U.S. Representatives Cindy Axne (D-IA) and Adrian Smith (R-NE), cited the "unprecedented rate of granting waivers" as a betrayal to rural communities that undermines the RFS and has contributed to a loss of more than 2.6 billion gallons in lost biofuels blending.

"Congress is rightfully highlighting how current EPA policy is undercutting family farms and biofuel producers when the agency grants improper RFS waivers," said Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood. "At a time of unpredictability for rural America and the biofuel industry, it is critical that the Trump administration upholds its commitment to our nation's farmers and stands by its promise to bolster American energy security. Granting unjustified exemptions from renewable fuel requirements increases market uncertainty and deters the development of new, sustainable biofuels--innovations that can help address our country's energy needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well. We thank the members of Congress who signed this letter, and BIO will continue to engage with Administrator Wheeler in an effort to reverse the unprecedented rate of waivers."

"At a time when grain markets have reached a 42-year low and there was an $11.8 billion decline in farm income the last quarter, our rural communities are continuing to be punished by the rapid escalation in small refinery exemptions by this administration," said Skor. "There is no legal or rational explanation for why EPA has quadrupled the number of secret exemptions to the world's largest oil companies in the past 17 months. We applaud U.S. Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA) and Adrian Smith (R-NE) and their 33 colleagues calling on EPA to halt unjust granting of SREs and to reallocate the gallons lost to ensure the targets set out under the RFS are met, and put an end to the practice of eliminating markets at a time when growers and producers need them most."

The letter states that the RFS requires renewable fuel to be blended into petroleum-based fuel in increasing amounts each year from its introduction up to 36 billion gallons of blended fuel by 2022, with blending targets for following years to be set by EPA. Continually granting unjustified SREs and failing to reallocate the waived gallons effectively lowers annual blending targets, contrary to the letter and intent of the law. These waivers increase market uncertainty for biofuel producers and farmers -- and ultimately every American consumer. At a time when our rural communities are already hurting, these SREs have caused a loss of 2.6 billion gallons of renewable fuel blending and almost a billion bushels of corn demand.

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