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Ernst Helps Increase Transparency in Small Refinery Waiver Process

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of both the Senate Agriculture and Environment and Public Works Committees, is continuing her work for Iowa’s farmers and biofuel producers by helping to introduce bipartisan legislation to bring more transparency and predictability to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) small refinery exemption process.

 The bill would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1st of each year, a change that ensures EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) it sets each November.

 “For far too long, EPA has gotten away with handing out small refinery waivers like candy—with little transparency or Congressional oversight—and to the benefit of Big Oil. This bipartisan effort shines light on the agency’s process and will help provide more predictability for Iowa’s hardworking farmers and biofuel producers who feed and fuel the world,” said Senator Ernst.

 The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Integrity Act of 2021 would:

·       Require small refineries to petition for RFS hardship exemptions by June 1 of each year;

·       Ensure the following key information surrounding small refinery exemptions is made publicly available:

o   Require the EPA to report to Congress on the methodology it uses when granting small refinery exemptions.

o   Petitioner’s name;

o   Name and location of the facility for which relief was requested;

o   Time period for which relief was requested; and

o   The extent to which the EPA granted or denied the requested relief.

 Last week, Senator Ernst joined the Iowa delegation in urging President Biden to uphold his promise to support biofuels.

 Earlier this year, Ernst joined her colleagues in urging EPA to take action to restore integrity in the RFS, including streamlining their proposed rule to remove certain barriers to expanded sales of E15. Ernst also joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in introducing a bill that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a grant program to support the deployment of renewable fuel infrastructure.

 After a recent report found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46% lower than gasoline, Senator Ernst introduced bipartisan legislation requiring the Biden Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel and to fully recognize biofuel’s environmental benefits.


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