Market News & Headlines >> Senators Call Out EPA on RFA Waivers

A bipartisan group of 13 farm state senators has called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop issuing fuel refineries hardship waivers from the U.S. renewable fuels standard (RFS) and requested the agency disclose the names of companies that have received such waivers since 2016. 

The request comes amid reports EPA has issued hardship waivers, which are intended for small refiners, to large companies. “According to recent reports, the EPA has already issued 25 ‘disproportionate hardship' waivers to large, multi-billion-dollar refining companies reporting billions of dollars in profits since 2016,”  the senators said in a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt dated April 13, but made public on Tuesday. 

“These waivers fall well outside the bounds of the letter or spirit of this provision in the law, which sought to provide flexibility for the smallest of U.S. refiners and only in cases of genuine hardship. Worse, EPA’s actions are already hurting biofuel producers and farmers across the United States at a time when farm income is at the lowest levels since 2006 and retaliatory trade measures from China threaten to deepen the crisis," the letter stated.

The group of senators, led by Charles Grassley, R-Iowa and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also requested that Pruitt provide a detailed report to Congress within two weeks of receiving their letter, describing his justifications for issuing each waiver. 

The EPA typically issues fewer than a dozen waivers a year, a former official told Reuters News Service.