U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement after the administration announced that it has reached a deal to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by accounting for the issuance of small refinery exemptions when setting future ethanol blending targets. Thune has openly criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) unprecedented and unnecessary use of small refinery exemptions, which have waived billions of gallons of biofuel blending. Today’s announcement means that the EPA will also make related reforms to improve implementation of the RFS and increase ethanol blending.
“I want to thank the president for standing up for farm country and sticking to the commitment he recently made to me and several of my farm-state colleagues in the Oval Office,” said Thune. “The president understands that the agriculture community is hurting, and while I look forward to seeing the final details, this announcement builds off our E15 win and points to a new and brighter day at the EPA.
“It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of the EPA’s use of small refinery waivers, a process that – when used for its intended purpose – can help alleviate certain hardships for small companies that truly need it. Unfortunately, the EPA has abused this process over the last few years, having granted unnecessary waivers to large companies, which has significantly undermined the RFS. These actions have had a direct and negative effect on operations in South Dakota and other states throughout the Corn Belt, which is why I congratulate the president on today’s announcement.”