Perdue assured Klobuchar the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has requested information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding refinery waivers

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) questioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and small refinery waivers in a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the State of Rural America. She also questioned Perdue about the 2018 Farm Bill, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and precision agriculture technology.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard is incredibly important to farmers and rural communities in Minnesota. Recent reports indicate that dozens of small refinery waivers have been granted to large refining companies, effectively reducing the 15 billion gallon target for the Renewable Volume Obligations. Senator Grassley and I have expressed our deep concerns about these actions,” Klobuchar said. “What used to be a small number of waivers has now grown to an unprecedented number, a concerning trend that threatens to undermine the RFS.”

Earlier this month, Klobuchar and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led a bipartisan group of 13 senators in urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to cease issuing so-called “hardship” waivers exempting obligated parties from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The senators also requested that the Agency provide topline information about the waivers already issued, disclose whether or not the agency redistributed the waived volume obligations among the non-exempted obligated parties and outline the agency’s plan to make the waiver process more transparent. In March, Klobuchar led a bipartisan group senators in urging the Administration to oppose any changes that would undermine the objectives of the RFS and hinder the growth of rural economies.

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.

Video of Klobuchar questioning Perdue is available for download here: KLOBUCHAR_AGRI_042418.mp4