Bill aims to increase transparency, predictability of SRE process

By Erin Voegele | June 17, 2019

Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, and Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, introduced the RFS Integrity Act of 2019 on June 13. The bill aims to bring transparency and predictability to the U.S. EPA’s small refinery exemption (SRE) process.

The legislation would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard hardship exemptions by June 1 of each year. The deadline would ensure that EPA can properly account for exempted gallons in the annual renewable volume obligations (RVOs) it sets each November.

The bill also aims to increase transparency by ensuring that key information surrounding SREs is made publicly available. In addition, the EPA would be required to report to Congress on the methodology it uses when granting SREs, a process that is currently carried out behind closed doors with little to no congressional oversight.

“The bipartisan solution we are putting forth today builds off of the recent victory on year-round E-15 sales,” Fischer said. “In the past, EPA has issued small refinery exemptions after the renewable volume obligations have already been determined. That’s unfair, and it hurts our farmers and ethanol producers. This bill would shine a light on what’s been an obscure exemption process and help promote economic growth in rural America.”

“Farmers across Illinois and throughout the Midwest are hurting and ethanol plants are idling while this administration is abusing the small refinery exemption program to undermine the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard,” Duckworth added. “I am proud to work with Sen. Fischer to introduce this bipartisan legislation to bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process and prevent it from being misused to benefit billion dollar oil companies at the expense of hardworking Americans.”

To date, Sens. John Thune, R-South Dakota; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have signed on to cosponsor the bill.

Several biofuel trade groups have spoken out in support of the bill.

 

 
 
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