Proposal ignores small refinery waiver misuse that undermines RFS
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement on the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 and 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements:
“The renewable fuel industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the country and cuts our reliance on foreign oil which is why we need the Renewable Fuel Standard to remain strong. The RFS requirements announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency maintain the ethanol volume requirements for 2019 and modestly increase the blend targets of advanced biofuels that will create jobs and strengthen rural communities.
“However, while these numbers are in line with proposed targets, increasing the volume requirements is meaningless if the EPA continues to undermine the RFS by granting small refinery waivers to multi-billion-dollar oil companies—reducing incentives for blending, slashing demand for biofuels and feedstocks, and hurting farmers and biofuels companies. This misguided overuse of the waivers by the EPA could cripple the homegrown biofuels market for years to come. I am disappointed that the EPA refused to address the misuse of small refinery waivers and restore the gallons of biofuels that have been lost due to these exemptions.”
For years, Klobuchar has led a bipartisan push for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release a stronger RFS. In April, Klobuchar and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led a bipartisan group of 13 senators in urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to cease issuing so-called “hardship” waivers exempting obligated parties from the RFS. In 2016, the former Administration issued a stronger final rule for 2017. The new standard required a record amount of biofuel to be mixed into our transportation fuel supply next year. Minnesota’s twenty ethanol plants and three biodiesel plants generate roughly $5 billion in combined economic output and have made our state the fourth-largest ethanol producing state in the country.
In March, Klobuchar led a bipartisan group of senators in urging the Administration to oppose any changes that would undermine the objectives of the RFS and hinder the growth of rural economies. In October, Klobuchar and Grassley led a bipartisan group of senators in a letter to the EPA calling for a strong RFS as the Agency worked toward finalizing its rule on biofuels volume requirements for 2018 under the RFS. In the letter, the senators urged the continued implementation of the RFS as intended by Congress and the release of a strong final rule that would give consumers more choices at the pump, strengthen the economy, and make the country more secure.
As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee member, Klobuchar successfully pushed for key provisions in the current Farm Bill – including measures to support rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. Recently, her staff held public forums throughout the state to hear firsthand from Minnesotans about their priorities for the Farm Bill’s 2018 reauthorization. Klobuchar regularly does Rural Economy Tours across Minnesota, meeting with local leaders from the agriculture and business communities to discuss priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill and the economic impact of a stronger RFS.