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RFA Applauds Congressional Efforts to Enhance Transparency of Small Refinery Waiver Process

September 15, 2020

Congress, EPA, RFS


The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today unveiled the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, which contains provisions requiring more transparency and accountability in EPA’s process for evaluating small refinery exemption requests under the Renewable Fuel Standard.  The provisions are based on the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act, introduced last year by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson.


“This provision would finally pull back the curtain on EPA’s secretive and obscure small refinery waiver program, and we are pleased to see its inclusion in the House energy package,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “By setting a deadline for waiver petitions and requiring small refineries to publicly disclose their identities, this language brings badly needed transparency and structure to the program. This would prevent companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, HollyFrontier, and CVR from hiding behind phony claims of confidentiality and stop them from further gaming the system. We thank Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) for their work on the original legislation, and we applaud the leadership of the Energy and Commerce Committee for recognizing the importance of bringing clarity and openness to the refinery waiver process.”


Also today, a bipartisan and bicameral group of federal lawmakers led by Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) expressed “disappointment and concern” that the EPA has not been forthcoming with the U.S. Government Accountability Office and has failed to release records pertaining to the small refinery exemption program.


“While we were pleased to see EPA reject a large number of gap-year refinery waiver requests earlier this week, we can’t ignore the fact that fundamental problems remain with the small refinery exemption program,” Cooper said. “The complete lack of transparency surrounding the program still needs to be addressed. We thank Rep. Finkenauer and her colleagues for working together to demand that EPA respond immediately to the GAO’s request for basic information about the small refinery exemption program.”


Ken Colombini