Tag Archives: EPA

WASHINGTON (July 9, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued the following statement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Interior-Environment Appropriations bill.

“I would recommend President Trump veto this bill. The Democrats’ FY21 Interior-Environment Appropriations bill fails to include funding for vital programs necessary to ensure EPA can carry out its core mission.

“At a time when countless cities across America are facing financial difficulties, Democrats have completely gutted the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), a popular loan program which has provided nearly $12 billion in water infrastructure projects and created 25,000 jobs under President Trump. Since the onset of the pandemic, WIFIA has saved taxpayers over a billion dollars while continuing to move critical infrastructure projects forward in cities including: San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Miami, FL, Courtland, NY, Wichita, KS, and numerous other cities across the country.

“House Democrats are blackmailing the agency on the basis of their arbitrary response deadlines for congressional letters. In an election year gimmick they are attempting to penalize the agency by threatening to withhold funds for an alleged failure to provide information regarding my predecessor that was shared with the Appropriations Committee more than a year ago.

“The House Majority is trying to score political points instead of putting forward a realistic appropriations bill. They are trying to undo common-sense regulations put forth by the Trump Administration that update Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and make lawful methane adjustments that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars while protecting human health and the environment, and allowing American businesses to flourish.

“Rather than looking out for the health and safety of Americans and the environment, House Democrats are playing politics at the expense of both communities across the country and EPA career employees.”

Sioux Falls, SD – The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings today expressed his disappointment in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking no action to follow through on ACE’s request to issue an interim final rule by July 1 to increase the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for 2020 to the percentage necessary to ensure that the full 20.09 billion gallons required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are used due to the unanticipated drop in ethanol blending as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

 This was one of three immediate steps Jennings outlined in an April 3 letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler that also urged the Agency to restore the 500 million gallons of remanded volume as ordered by the DC District Court in 2017 and nationally apply the Tenth Circuit Court precedent regarding small refinery exemptions by denying most of the pending waivers for the 2019 RFS compliance year. The Agency not only has the authority to take these steps but must take them to avoid being in violation of the RFS statute which specifically instructs EPA to set the total RVO at a level that ‘ensures the requirements’ of the statutory obligations are met. Jennings issued the statement below following ACE’s July 1 requested deadline:

 “When I wrote EPA in early April, it was evident ethanol demand was heading for trouble, so we spelled out three immediate steps existing law or court decisions allowed EPA to take to help cushion the blow. Nearly three months have passed on our requests and it appears the only action EPA has taken is to entertain 52 ‘new’ retroactive waiver requests for refiners suddenly claiming economic hardship dating back nearly a decade in RFS compliance years. 

 “We can add this to the list of letdowns coming from the Agency with so many opportunities at its disposal to get the RFS back on track.”

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz sent a letter to Andrew Wheeler, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator regarding small refinery exemptions. They’re asking the agency to reject all of the 52 applications for retroactive small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuels Standard for past compliance years.

Governor Noem and Governor Walz are the chair and vice-chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition. “We are concerned that EPA is considering exemptions for prior years that were specifically submitted to evade the court of appeal’s decision by allowing refineries with lapsed SREs to establish a continuous chain of exemptions,” the governors say. “Approving prior-year SREs in this manner ignores the court’s decision and congressional intent, and it will severely impact farmers and rural communities that support the biofuels industry.

Since 2017, the EPA has granted 85 SREs, undermining farmers and biofuel producers throughout the nation.” In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Tenth Circuit ruled that the EPA could not legally award exemptions to refiners that didn’t receive any waivers in previous years and had failed to demonstrate hardship in any way related to the RFS. If all 52 applications get approved, the coalition says it will cost the market more than two billion gallons worth of demand.

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, along with Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency on blending waivers.

They’re asking the EPA to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuels Standard for past compliance years. In the letter, the senators warn that by granting any or all of the petitions, the agency would only worsen the economic challenges facing the biofuels industry. They also want the EPA to apply the Tenth Circuit Court decision nationally. “We urge you to reject these petitions outright and respond in writing to our questions about recent use of SREs under the RFS,” the senators say in the letter. “

These petitions should not even be looked at because they are inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit Decision, Congressional intent, as well as the EPA’s own guidance.” Most importantly, they say it goes against the best interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry. “

The approval of the SREs for past compliance years will only worsen the already unprecedented challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports,” the Senators added.