Ethanol Blog

Group of 24 House Members Press EPA for RFS Waiver

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Members of the U.S. House of Representatives pressed EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to respond to requests for waivers to the Renewable Fuel Standard. (DTN file photo)

A group of 24 members of the U.S. House of Representatives is pushing the EPA to grant a Renewable Fuel Standard waiver request recently made by the governors of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

The representatives from those states said in a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Monday, the refining industry cannot wait much longer for agency action.

"The current, suppressed worldwide demand for motor fuels has placed the refining sector in a precarious economic situation that is only magnified by these federal regulations," the lawmakers said in the letter.

The letter was signed by Reps. Chip Roy, Pete Olson, John Curtis, Louie Gohmert, Clay Higgins, Liz Cheney, Van Taylor, Garret Graves, Ron Wright, Roger Williams, Kevin Brady, Brian Babin, Michael C. Burgess, Tom Cole, Markwayne Mullin, Michael Cloud, Rob Bishop, Lance Gooden, Will Hurd, Michael T. McCaul, Dan Crenshaw, Kevin Hern, Jodey C. Arrington and Randy K. Weber.

Earlier this week Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also asked the agency for a waiver.

The transportation fuel sector has been suffering from lost demand as a result of the economic shutdown from COVID-19, as well as falling gasoline prices sparked by an oil-price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The refining sector is not alone. The ethanol industry has been hit hard economically, as about 150 plants have either idled or scaled back production.

"We understand as of April 15, the governors from our states have pending requests for waivers before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," the lawmakers said in the letter.

"They argue that continued implementation of the RFS under the current RVO (renewable volume obligations) with an increasingly significant rise in the cost of compliance credits known as RINs (renewable identification numbers) could push the sector -- and the nation as a whole -- into severe economic stress."

The lawmaker said the Clean Air Act allows the EPA to grant waivers if RFS requirements would "severely harm the economy or environment of a state, a region, or the United States.

"Based on this, we urge the EPA to act swiftly in reviewing these requests, under the volume requirement waiver and if determined rightfully so, grant these waivers expediently," the letter said.

"This is not time for the agency to sit idly by as refineries face economic duress that can cost the nation hundreds of thousands of jobs and undermine the very energy security that the RFS was established to protect."

Read the letter here: http://www.fuelingusjobs.com/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

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