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Rounds to EPA: You’ve Taken Care of Small Refineries, but What About Small Farmers?

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today at a hearing had the opportunity to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and exemptions issued for small refineries with Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler.


Excerpts of his remarks:


Rounds on small refinery waivers: “You’ve taken care of the small refineries - what about the small farmers? What about the folks that are producing on a year-to-year basis, just enough to get by, at a time in which we’ve got trade issues in front of us, at a time in which they expected that a [Renewable Volume Obligation of 15 billion gallons] would be honored by the federal government…you’ve taken care of the small refineries but you haven’t taken care of the small farmers.”


Rounds on the RFS: “It is critical that the Renewable Fuel Standard remain in effect and that it be honored, and that it be something that producers in the central part of the country can count on. They’ve invested billions of dollars in creating an ethanol industry and one that they had expected to be in until at least the year 2022. If we read this correctly, there clearly was the intent of Congress that there be for traditional ethanol production a 15 billion gallon allowance.”


The RFS has provided the statutory certainty necessary for the corn industry to grow and thrive, and as a result corn ethanol has become a vital component of our nation’s fuel supply. Earlier this year, it was reported that the EPA is providing RFS waivers to refineries, thereby reducing the amount of ethanol required by the RFS and reducing the demand on corn and corn ethanol. Following these reports, Rounds sent a letter reiterating his strong support for the RFS and asked for more information regarding the unusually high number of small refinery waivers issued over the past two years. Acting Administrator Wheeler committed to responding to the letter during their exchange.