U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) issued the following statements after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied dozens of requests from oil refineries seeking economic hardship exemptions from ethanol blending requirements under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) dating from 2011 through 2018.
“Administrator Wheeler's rejection of these gap year waiver petitions is welcome news for the American ethanol industry and our farmers,” said Thune. “Not only is this decision consistent with the RFS, it helps uphold President Trump's commitments to our homegrown biofuels industry. I am encouraged by this announcement, which, in conjunction with the Tenth Circuit ruling, should bring a drastic reduction in small refinery exemptions. Without the threat of looming gap SREs, I look forward to further restoring integrity to the RFS and ensuring this vital market for American farmers is available in the future.”
“The EPA’s excessive issuance of Small Refinery Exemptions has undermined the integrity of the RFS for years, harming South Dakota corn and corn ethanol producers by reducing demand,” said Rounds. “Today’s decision upholds the integrity of the RFS and Congress’ intent of the law. Over the past year, I have been working with a handful of senators and President Trump to make sure the EPA requires 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol to be blended into our fuel supply. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction to make sure that happens. I urge the EPA to deny additional outstanding waivers when they’re received from the Department of Energy.”
“There’s been a lot of uncertainty for biofuels this year,” said Johnson. “I’m encouraged the Trump administration is taking steps to deny refinery blending waivers. We need to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard and the biofuels industry deserves long-term certainty. That’s why I’ll keep pushing my bill, the RFS Integrity Act, to ensure our producers aren’t disadvantaged.”