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Senators Introduce RFS Integrity Act of 2021

Bill would provide more certainty by bringing transparency and predictability to EPA's small refinery exemption process


U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2021, which would 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 1 of each year. This change would ensure that EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) it sets each November.

The industry came out in favor of the legislation.

"ACE thanks Senators Fischer and Duckworth for leading the reintroduction of this bipartisan legislation to ensure the statutory volumes of the Renewable Fuel Standard are enforced by restoring transparency and integrity to EPA’s handling of small refinery exemptions," says Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. "This legislation is necessary because under President Trump, EPA brazenly granted nearly 90 waivers for small refineries, erasing over 4 billion gallons from the RFS volumes established by Congress.

"As of today, 70 additional refinery waivers are pending. While the Biden EPA appears to be focused on getting the RFS back on track and we remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will uphold the Tenth Circuit Court’s decision to limit waivers moving forward, the RFS Integrity Act complements those efforts.”

Omaha-based Green Plains, Inc. issued a statement saying "this important legislation would ensure that the RFS is implemented as congress intended, and that 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons. In addition to ensuring the annual renewable volume obligations have teeth, it would provide much-needed transparency into the historically opaque process of evaluating Small Refinery Exemption petition.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the act provides long-overdue transparency for requests to avoid blending more low carbon renewable fuels that are key to America's low-carbon future.

"We applaud Senators Fischer and Duckworth for working to protect the integrity of the RFS so that farmers and biofuel producers, as well as the entire fuel supply chain, across the nation can count on stable demand and continue providing cleaner and more affordable fuel choices at the pump," she says.

Lastly, Zippy Duvall, president with the American Farm Bureau Federation, notes that given the accomplishments of the RFS program to date, "EPA's previous excessive and unreasonable use of the small refinery waiver dampened the prospects for reduced emissions and increased energy security. The Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act ensures transparency through a fair and timely EPA waiver process going forward."

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