WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, U.S. Congressman David Young and the Iowa congressional delegation sent a letter this week to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, inviting him to Iowa to meet with the farmers and rural communities that rely on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

"Renewable fuels are critical to achieving energy independence in the United States and play an important role in Iowa’s economy," the delegation said in the letter. "Across Iowa, cooperatives and renewable fuel plants dot the landscape. We invite you to visit Iowa and look forward to working with you."

The delegation letter outlined their concern that EPA granted 48 small refinery "hardship waivers” in 2016 and 2017 under former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s leadership, which resulted in the loss of 2.25 billion gallons of biofuels under the RFS.  The delegation also asked Acting Administrator Wheeler to reconsider the proposed rule and to account for any waived RFS obligations so they do not reduce the overall level of renewable fuels blended.

Read the text of the letter below. 

Dear Administrator Wheeler:

You hold a very important role as the acting Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is our expectation you will reinforce the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and bolster our nation’s energy security. We’re encouraged by your statement at your confirmation hearing last year where you said, “The RFS is the law of the land. I fully support the program.” Iowa farmers deserve nothing less.

Renewable fuels are critical to achieving energy independence in the United States and play an important role in Iowa’s economy. We remain concerned about the demand destruction of 2.25 billion gallons due to the unprecedented number of small refinery “hardship” waivers granted in 2016 and 2017. The recently released 2019 proposed rule indicates there will be no accounting moving forward of gallons that might be waived under the small refinery waivers in order to maintain the statutory Renewable Volume Obligation. A reduction in demand for renewable fuels pushes commodity prices even lower and farmers are already facing low commodity prices. We strongly urge you to reconsider the proposed rule and work to ensure that the final rule is structured to ensure that any waivers granted do not reduce the overall Renewable Volume Obligation.

President Trump directed the EPA to allow for the sale of E-15 year round but unfortunately this hasn’t come to fruition. This is particularly frustrating given the damaging impact that previously granted waivers have already had on RIN prices and renewable fuel demand. As Iowa corn farmers are anxiously awaiting their 2018 crop, a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver would help grow demand and improve the markets. Since its creation, the RFS has helped us reduce our dependency on foreign oil, promoted cleaner air, created good-paying jobs, given consumers cheaper fuel, and spurred economic growth in our rural communities.

Across Iowa, cooperatives and renewable fuel plants dot the landscape. We invite you to visit Iowa and look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

            David Young, Member of Congress                                                                            Dave Loebsack, Member of Congress 

            Charles E. Grassley, United States Senator                                                               Joni K. Ernst, United States Senator

            Steve King, Member of Congress                                                                                Rod Blum, Member of Congress