4 governors call on EPA to reject oil refineries’ attempts to avoid renewable fuel obligations

Local News

Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, speaks during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee oversight hearing to examine the Environmental Protection Agency, Wednesday, May 20, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)

LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – The governors of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota wrote a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Minnesota Tim Walz, and South Dakota Kristi Noem co-wrote a letter to call on the EPA to reject the oil refineries’ attempts to avoid renewable fuel obligations.

The four governors expressed their concern over the EPA’s willingness to consider 52 applications for retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs).

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS caused a significant number of plants to partially or fully shut down. The resulting job losses, decreases in commodity purchases and prices, and shortages of co-products affect rural America every day. Your approval of these SRE ‘gap filings’ would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the renewable fuels industry and rural communities.”

From Governors Reynolds, Ricketts, Walz, and Noem

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), refiners must meet renewable volume obligations by blending renewable fuels into their gasoline or by purchasing credits equivalent to the required amount of renewable fuel.

The governors said oil refineries have repeatedly sought exemptions to avoid fulfilling their obligations.

Since 2017, the EPA has granted 85 SRES. In total, these SREs have depressed demand for ethanol and other biofuels by over 4 billion gallons.

In January 2020, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA has improperly granted SREs in some cases.

Officials mention the EPA continues to consider the new waiver requests by small oil refineries.

The approval of the 52 pending applications would cause the market loss of another two billion gallons of biofuel blending requirements.

For the letter to EPA Administrator Wheeler by the four governors, click here.

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