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Bipartisan Legislation Would Provide Certainty for Farmers and Ethanol Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2019. This legislation seeks to provide more certainty for rural America by bringing transparency and predictability to EPA’s small refinery exemption process. The bill would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1st of each year. This change would ensure that EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations it sets each November.

“The bipartisan solution we are putting forth today builds off of the recent victory on year-round E-15 sales. In the past, EPA has issued small refinery exemptions after the Renewable Volume Obligations have already been determined. That’s unfair, and it hurts our farmers and ethanol producers. This bill would shine a light on what’s been an obscure exemption process and help promote economic growth in rural America,” said Senator Fischer.

“Farmers across Illinois and throughout the Midwest are hurting and ethanol plants are idling while this administration is abusing the small refinery exemption program to undermine the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard. I am proud to work with Senator Fischer to introduce this bipartisan legislation to bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process and prevent it from being misused to benefit billion dollar oil companies at the expense of hardworking Americans,” said Senator Duckworth. 

Click here to read a Reuters article about how the EPA changed rules to help profitable refineries receive biofuel waivers.

The bill also increases transparency by ensuring that key information surrounding small refinery exemptions is made publicly available. Additionally, this legislation requires the EPA to report to Congress on the methodology it uses when granting small refinery exemptions, a process that has been repeatedly carried out behind closed doors with little to no congressional oversight. 

Earlier this week, Senator Fischer travelled on Air Force One with President Donald Trump to announce the year-round sale of E-15. She was a cosponsor of the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. It would have allowed retailers across the country to sell E-15 and other higher-ethanol/gasoline fuel blends year-round, increasing regulatory certainty and eliminating confusion at the pump.