WASHINGTON – Today, during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) pressed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), provide Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief for ethanol blends that are E15 and higher and to reallocate biofuel gallons lost to small refinery exemptions.
“Over the past year and a half, EPA has taken actions that benefit refiners at the expense of farmers. By retroactively granting an unprecedented number of small refinery exemptions, EPA effectively waived 2.25 billion gallons from refiners’ 2016 and 2017 RFS obligations. Not only do these actions contradict President Trump’s pledge to uphold congressionally mandated volumes, but they have also destroyed corn and ethanol demand, leading to lost income for Iowa’s farmers at a time when farm income is already at its lowest level since 2006,” said Senator Ernst.
Senator Ernst continued to question Mr. Wheeler on the RFS, specifically asking for a commitment from the EPA to grant the RVP waiver, which President Trump again expressed support for during his visit to Iowa last week.
“RVP parity and the sale of E15 year-round is a no-cost solution that will expand a domestic market for farmers who have been adversely impacted by retaliatory tariffs. RVP parity would not only boost commodity prices, but also be viewed across rural America as the Trump Administration taking concrete action to help during a time of economic hardship. Acting Administrator Wheeler, I encourage you to follow through on the President’s directive and remove this unnecessary and ridiculous restriction,” said Senator Ernst.
In response to Ernst’s questions, Mr. Wheeler agreed that the RFS should be implemented consistent with the original intent of Congress. He stressed that the Agency is trying to be “more clear and transparent on granting” small refinery exemptions and indicated the need for a reallocation strategy.
Watch Senator Ernst’s questioning of Mr. Wheeler here or by clicking on the image below.