RFS Architects Question EPA Waivers

Cindy Zimmerman

Former Sen. Byron Dorgan at 2018 National Biodiesel Conference

Two former senators who played key roles in developing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are calling on Congress to investigate the EPA’s recent waivers to major refiners and failure to follow the law.

Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Jim Talent (R-MO) say EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s granting of multiple small refinery hardship waivers skirts the law and threatens to undermine the renewable fuels industry.

“Lawmakers from across the heartland have already demanded the EPA stop abusing these waivers, but Congress can and should do more. The public deserves real answers from Administrator Pruitt about handouts granted under cover of night,” said the two Senators, who are active in energy policy roles. Dorgan is now a senior policy adviser at Arent Fox, whose clients include the National Biodiesel Board, and Talent currently serves as Chair of Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI), which supports renewable energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Both helped write the RFS while serving in the Senate.

“The waiver provisions established by Congress provide flexibility in dealing with the smallest refining companies, producing fewer than 75,000 barrels per day, and only in unique cases presenting disproportionate economic hardship,” the senators say. “But the EPA has warped those provisions to grant tens of millions of dollars in regulatory handouts at the expense of farmers, biofuel workers, and American consumers.”

The National Biodiesel Board submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to find out more from EPA about small refiner exemptions requested and issued. They also joined the American Soybean Association and the National Renderers Association urging President Trump to keep his promises to rural voters to uphold a strong RFS.

Biodiesel, RFS