U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation that would bring much-needed transparency to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) secretive small refinery exemption (SRE) process and ensure refiners meet their biofuel blending requirements. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked the senators for introducing this legislation at a time when biofuel producers and corn farmers need it most:
“EPA’s track-record on handouts to big oil through small refinery exemptions has eliminated markets at a time when growers and producers face true economic hardship,” said Skor. “U.S. ethanol consumption recently fell for the first time in 20 years. Across the heartland, many biofuel plants have shut their doors or idled production. Farm income plummeted $11.8 billion over just the last three months, the steepest drop since 2016. It’s clear that the ‘economic hardship’ is happening in America’s farm belt – not in oil company boardrooms.
“This bipartisan legislation from Senators Fischer and Duckworth can help restore transparency and integrity to the abusive exemption process. By providing the public with more information, accounting for exemptions and ensuring biofuel targets are met in full, farmers and producers across the nation can count on stable biofuels demand and continue providing cleaner and more affordable fuel choices at the pump.”
Currently, refiners have no deadline when submitting a request for a small refinery exemption, which allows them a secretive, backdoor way to avoid their legal obligations. The bipartisan legislation requires refineries to submit an application for an SRE by June 1st, and requires the EPA to full account for exempted gallons so that biofuel targets are met in earnest. Additionally, the legislation prevents refineries from concealing exemptions as confidential business information, allowing the public greater insight into who is receiving these waivers and why.