Governors urge EPA to reconsider SRE proposal

By Erin Voegele | November 04, 2019

Leaders of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Oct. 30 urging the agency to honor President Trump’s commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard and criticizing the EPA’s supplemental rulemaking addressing small refinery exemptions (SREs).

The letter, authored South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who chairs the organization, calls the EPA oblivious to the harm it has caused with SREs.

Within the letter, Noem and Walz note that EPA has approved 85 SREs since 2016, representing a loss of more than 4.3 billion gallons of renewable fuels.

“Every waiver EPA approves negatively affects our farmers, biofuels producers and the thousands of residents who benefit directly or indirectly form our states’ biofuels industry,” they wrote. “EPA chose to approve these waivers at a time when farmers and biofuel producers were already hurt by adverse weather conditions, flagging export market opportunities, and chronically low commodity prices. Approving these waivers when the agriculture economy was struggling represented a callous disregard for the economic interest of our nation’s farmers.”

The letter goes on to say the agency’s supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the reallocation of SREs “ignores the agreement President Trump reached with the nation’s biofuels producers and further demonstrates that EPA is oblivious to the harm it has caused.”

“Today, at least 30 biofuel plants remain closed,” Noem and Walz wrote. “This rule does not provide the certainty needed to allow those facilities to reopen and permit employees to return to work.”

In the letter, the governors urge the EPA to abandon its proposal to use a rolling three-year average of U.S. Department of Energy SRE recommendations when predicting future SRE exemptions and instead using a three-year rolling average of actual exempted gallons.

A full copy of the letter is available on Noem’s website