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Grassley Blasts EPA For Last-Minute Refinery Waivers; Federal Appellate Court Temporarily Stops These Exemptions

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John Pemble
/
IPR File
Sen Chuck Grassley said there are issues with “a lack of transparency” with the EPA’s small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard program that go back several years.

Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator is blasting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision this week to grant more small refinery exemptions that excuse oil refiners from blending biofuels into their gasoline.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has already temporarily stopped three waivers to oil refiners that the Trump administration’s EPA granted Tuesday, hours before President Joe Biden took office Wednesday.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley blasted the EPA’s move in his weekly call with reporters Thursday.

“What we saw in the final hours of the Trump administration was a disgrace to the biofuels community,” Grassley said.

Grassley said there are issues with “a lack of transparency” with the EPA’s small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard program that go back to the Obama administration. The Renewable Fuel Standard sets requirements for how much biofuels must be blended into gasoline each year.

“I’m hopeful that the new administration will not abuse SREs to hurt the demand for biofuels,” Grassley said.

The Renewable Fuels Association on Tuesday filed a petition and emergency motion with the appellate court to halt the three small refinery waivers. In a statement shortly after the association filed its motion, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said the RFA went that route to stop the EPA from “doing further economic damage to an industry already reeling from the impacts of COVID-19.”

“To avert additional harm to the ethanol industry, EPA must be prevented from returning any compliance credits (RINs) to the unidentified refiners who were given these last-minute exemption handouts,” Cooper said.

Grassley said he’ll continue to push the EPA to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard.