Senators urge Wheeler to end abuse of SREs

By Erin Voegele | August 27, 2019

A group of seven Midwestern democratic senators sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Aug. 26 urging the U.S. EPA to end its harmful abuse of small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The letter was signed by Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minn.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

The letter points out the approval of SREs has grown significantly under the Trump Administration. The number of approved SREs increased by 370 percent when comparing the number of approvals issued during the final three years of the Obama Administration and the first three years of the Trump Administration, the letter states.

“This pattern of demand destruction is wreaking havoc on our nation’s rural economy,” the senators wrote. “In recent months, more than 13 ethanol plants and [eight] biodiesel plants have idled production or shut down across the country. Not only did these biofuel plants support thousands of rural jobs across the country, they served as important markets for famers, processing millions of bushels of corn, soybeans, and other commodities. At a time when farmers are already struggling after years of low prices and a chaotic trade agenda, this administration chose to destroy more markets for famers and harm rural communities across the country.

“To add insult to injury, recent reports indicate that President Trump personally made the decision to grant these 31 waivers, despite numerous promises to support renewable fuels,” the senators continued. “EPA continues to undercut the integrity of the RFS by misusing its waiver authority, which in turn has a direct adverse impact on farmers and jobs in rural communities. We write to urge you once again to end the abuse of these small refinery exemptions, immediately reallocate the remaining gallons, and make public information regarding any recipients of these exemptions.”

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Smith’s website.