The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Tuesday released legislation containing provisions of legislation led by House Agriculture Committee Chairman and Congressional Biofuels Caucus Co-Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., to provide transparency into the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) granting of small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers.
The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act (H.R. 4447) would set an annual deadline for refiners to request exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and require EPA to publicly release the name of refiners requesting a waiver, the number of gallons requested to be waived and the number of gallons of biofuel that will not be blended as a result of the waiver. These provisions mirror the policies contained in Peterson’s Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act (H.R. 3006).
Providing more transparency to EPA’s waiver process will give farmers, biofuel producers and the public a clearer understanding of EPA’s justification for approving these harmful waivers and NCGA thanks Chairman Peterson for his leadership in shining a light on EPA’s actions. The House is expected to consider the legislation next week.
Tuesday’s legislation comes on the heels of a Monday announcement by the EPA to deny 54 of 68 pending past-year SREs to oil refiners, with the expectation that the remaining 14 past-year waivers will receive the same treatment following required review by the Department of Energy (DOE). EPA, however, has yet to act on the 31 current year waivers pending for the 2019-2020 compliance years.
Also yesterday, Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, led a bipartisan effort urging EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to stop the Agency’s stonewalling of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation into the SRE process. The GAO began the investigation earlier this year, but the EPA has since ignored information requests from the office. The GAO investigation into EPA’s waiver process highlights the need for greater transparency that Chairman Peterson’s legislation would provide.