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Ernst Presses EPA to Uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard, Provide Certainty to Iowa Farmers and Biofuel Producers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), an unwavering advocate for Iowa’s biofuel industry and member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, joined her colleagues in urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to restore integrity in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
In a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Jane Nishida, Ernst urged the agency to review the three small refinery exemption (SRE) waivers issued by former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler just one day prior to President Biden’s inauguration, and to determine if the waivers comply with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the use of SREs.
In their letter, Ernst and her colleagues write, On January 8, 2021, the Supreme Court indicated its intention to review the Tenth Circuit case (Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA), with oral arguments expected this spring and a decision by summer. As this litigation is ongoing, we respectfully ask that you review the three waivers issued by Mr. Wheeler on January 19. If these waivers do not meet the three-part test laid out in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals then we urge you to immediately reverse them and deny the refiners’ waiver requests.”
Ernst and her colleagues also urged EPA to move forward with streamlining their recently proposed rule to remove certain barriers to expanded sales of E15. In the letter, they pushed EPA to swiftly issue a proposed rule for the 2021 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO), which would restore the 500 million gallons of blending requirements that were illegally removed from the 2016 RVO.
Click here to read the letter.
Following reports that EPA was considering to issue numerous pending small refinery exemptions, Ernst joined her colleagues in urging the agency to freeze any decisions on the pending SREs until the Supreme Court has ruled in the Renewable Fuels Association et. al. v. EPA case.
Last month, as part of her continued push to ensure EPA takes action to expand access to higher biofuel blends, Ernst commended EPA for issuing a proposed a rule that would remove certain barriers to expanded sales of E15, including E15 fuel dispenser labeling and compatibility with underground storage tanks.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Ernst questioned President Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture nominee Tom Vilsack on how he will work to uphold the RFS, and what direction he plans to give to USDA following President Biden’s executive action to begin transitioning federal government vehicles to electric vehicles.