House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), co-chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, have introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 which establishes an annual June 1st deadline for refineries to submit small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions from their RFS blending obligations each year and increases transparency in the process.
Since 2018, EPA granted 54 waivers to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons being taken out of the market place. By law, the RFS requires that the EPA make adjustments when determining future biofuels targets to account for waivers to ensure that the overall biofuels targets are not reduced by waivers. However, the agency is not accounting for these waivers and the demand for biofuels is being undercut.
The bill is supported by state and national biofuel and corn grower associations, including National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), National Biodiesel Board, and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).
“This bipartisan bill would prevent companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Holly Frontier, and CVR from further gaming the system and undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said RFA CEO Geoff Cooper. “For five years in a row, EPA has failed to enforce the RFS conventional biofuel volume requirements set forth by Congress, even though there has been ample supply available at a low cost to meet the statutory volumes. The consequences of EPA’s chronic mismanagement of the RFS have been economically devastating for ethanol producers, farmers, and consumers alike.”
By setting a June 1st petition submission deadline each year, the EPA will have time to account for renewable fuel gallons stripped from the market due to these waivers. The bill also increases transparency in the process by making information with respect to a petition subject to public disclosure.