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Agriculture Disappointed in EPA RIN Waivers

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The National Corn Growers Association says reported Renewable Fuel Standard waivers granted to a large refiner undermine the RFS. NCGA President Kevin Skunes says the granting of the waivers significantly reduces the number of gallons of fuel blended with ethanol, “hurting rural economies and the nation’s corn farmers.” Reuters reported earlier this week that the Environmental Protection Agency granted RFS waivers to a large refining company, essentially letting the company ‘off the hook’ from its obligations to blend ethanol fuels.

The reports also angered Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who says the waivers, intended for small, struggling refiners, would amount to “a massive government handout to a big corporation.” Andeavor owns the refineries that allegedly received the waivers, and the company made a profit of more than $1.5 billion last year. Grassley says the alleged secret waivers granted by the EPA are more than unfair, adding the practice “may be illegal.”

Growth Energy sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt condemning the decision to award a small refinery waiver to one of the largest refiners in the U.S. and demanding a moratorium on waivers being issued by EPA. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor put out the following statement:

“We ask that EPA immediately cease issuing waivers and pause any waiver applications being considered until the agency conducts a full, transparent public comment process to help assure all stakeholders that the new expansion of small refinery waivers are consistent with the goals of the RFS.

“EPA appears to be operating under the cover of night in a secretive process where the agency acts as judge, jury, and executioner to effectively reduce the overall demand for biofuels in this country absent any public discourse.

“These decisions appear to be timed so they do not require disclosure in the yearly RFS Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking process, adding further suspicion that the EPA is pressing its thumb on the scale to grow oil industry profits.

“Secret handouts to petroleum giants don’t just undermine the administration’s commitment to the RFS, they represent a very real threat to hard-pressed farmers and biofuel industry workers across the heartland. Every waiver represents a gallon of homegrown biofuel that can’t make its way to consumers, can’t contribute to U.S. energy security, and can’t grow the U.S. economy. The public deserves to know exactly to which companies Mr. Pruitt is awarding millions of dollars in handouts behind closed doors.”

Growth Energy’s full letter can be found here.