U.S. lawmakers urge EPA to reject refiner exemption from biofuel mandates
NEW YORK, June 16 (Reuters) – Democratic members of the United States Congress on Wednesday sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, urging it to reject any action that would exempt oil refiners from the requirement to mix biofuels in the the country’s energy mix.
The letter comes after a Reuters report last week that President Joe Biden’s administration, under pressure from unions and U.S. senators, including from his home state of Delaware, is considering ways to relieve refiners from US oil warrants. Read more
The letter was signed by lawmakers in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives and states, including Iowa and Illinois. It included Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois.
The letter was also sent to the National Economic Council.
“We support your efforts to tackle climate change, but are concerned that the cancellation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirement for refiners will directly contradict this work,” the letter said. “Following up on the actions that would be under discussion would directly undermine your commitment to tackle climate change and restore the integrity of the RFS and we urge you to reject them.”
Under the RFS, refiners must blend biofuels into their fuel or purchase credits, called RINs, from those who do. Refiners can request waivers of the obligations if they prove that the mandates are detrimental to them financially.
In the letter, lawmakers instead asked the EPA to publish a proposed rule for renewable volume blending obligations for 2021 and 2022 with “strong blending targets.” He also asked the agency to respond to a judicial referral to reinstate 500 million gallons of blending requirements that were lifted from 2016 blending targets.
Lawmakers behind Wednesday’s letter represent corn growers. The RFS policy has pitted some oil refiners and corn groups against each other, as petroleum refiners find the mandates expensive, while farmers and biofuel producers say they help boost demand for corn-based ethanol.
Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis
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