Washington Watch 2018: RFS Hardship Waivers Granted on “Statutory Criteria”

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Several agricultural and renewable fuel groups along with members of Congress have expressed dissatisfaction with the EPA over granting of Renewable Fuel Standard waivers to a number of refiners.

Thirteen senators recently sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting the agency cease issuing so-called “hardship” waivers exempting obligated parties from the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the EPA exempted one of the nation’s largest oil refining companies, Andeavor, from complying with U.S. biofuels regulations – a waiver historically reserved for tiny operations in danger of going belly up.

Mr. Pruitt told farm broadcasters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday that the hardship waivers are granted based on objective  information.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers wants the EPA to make the waiver process more transparent.

Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. and Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson sent a letter to President Trump this week expressing concern that Administrator Pruitt is inappropriately issuing waivers to fuel refiners in order to undermine the RFS program.

They argue that the “misuse of the small refiner exemption to reduce renewable fuel volumes undermines the goal of the RFS program, creates uncertainty and economic hardship in the agricultural community, and gives unfair advantage to specific facilities within the refining sector.”

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