A group of 35 members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to stop granting small refinery waivers to the Renewable Fuel Standard to "large or unqualified" refiners, in a letter sent to Wheeler on Tuesday.
Since the beginning of President Donald Trump's administration the EPA has granted more than 50 waivers dating back to 2016, and has received another 40 requests for 2018.
In the letter to Wheeler led by Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, and Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., the lawmakers allege the EPA is illegally granting waivers.
"We request you immediately end the practice of granting small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard for large or unqualified refiners," the letter said. "Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency updated its public SRE list, bringing the total number of approved SRE requests to 54 since President Trump took office without a single denial.
"This unprecedented rate of granting waivers is a betrayal of our rural communities, detrimental to our energy security, and threatens our entire agricultural sector at a time of declining incomes and rising debts for our producers. EPA must halt this process and reallocate waived gallons as the law intends."
Waivers have been granted to larger oil companies that own and operate small refineries. Some of the oil companies received waivers although they reported billions of dollars in profits.
EPA is defending the waiver process in a lawsuit filed by the Advanced Biofuels Association.
"Continually granting unjustified SREs and failing to reallocate the waived gallons effectively lowers annual blending targets," the letter said, "contrary to the letter and intent of the law. These waivers increase market uncertainty for biofuel producers and farmers -- and ultimately every American consumer.
"Granting exemptions to the RFS increases American dependence on foreign oil. By continually waiving the requirements of the RFS for small refineries, the EPA fosters uncertainty about the program creating uncertainty for those interested in investing and developing America's biofuel industry."
The lawmakers asked Wheeler to stop granting waivers "immediately and distribute the gallons waived in previous years."
Read the letter here: https://growthenergy.org/…
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN
© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.