Johnson, Craig introduce RFS Integrity Act

By Erin Voegele | February 19, 2021

Reps. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., and Angie Craig, D-Minn., on Feb. 19 reintroduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act, which aims to ensure transparency and predictability in the U.S. EPA’s administration of the small refinery exemption (SRE) process.

The bill would require small refineries to submit a petition for a Renewable Fuel Standard hardship exemption by June 1 of each year, allowing EPA to properly account for exempted gallons in the annual renewable volume obligations (RVOs) set each November. The bill would also increase transparency by mandating the public disclosure of data surrounding SREs—a process that has previously been carried out behind closed doors with little to no congressional oversight. 

Johnson and Craig were joined in introducing the RFS Integrity Act by Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; Cindy Axne, D-Iowa; Mark Pocan, D-Wisc.; and Adrian Smith, R-Neb.

The bill was previously introduced by Johnson and former Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., in May 2019. Provisions of the bill were also previoulsy included in H.R. 4447, which the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 229 to 187 in September 2020. The Senate, however, failed to take action on that legislation.

The American Coalition for Ethanol and Growth Energy have issued statements in support of the RFS Integrity Act.

“ACE thanks Representatives Johnson and Craig for leading the reintroduction of this bipartisan legislation to ensure the statutory volumes of the Renewable Fuel Standard are enforced by restoring transparency and integrity to EPA’s handling of small refinery exemptions,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “This legislation is necessary because under President Trump, EPA brazenly granted nearly 90 waivers for small refineries, erasing over 4 billion gallons from the RFS volumes established by Congress. As of today, 66 additional refinery waivers are pending.”

“We applaud the introduction of the RFS Integrity Act and the strong bipartisan effort to restore integrity and transparency to the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “The intent of the RFS is to blend more biofuels into our nation’s transportation fuel supply every year, not have oil companies use questionable tactics to delay and avoid their blending obligations, creating a tremendous amount of uncertainty for farmers, biofuels producers, and the entire fuel supply chain. 

“Recent research has found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46 percent lower than gasoline,” Skor added. “As science on biofuels continues to update and highlight the increasing environmental benefits of ethanol over gasoline, it’s critical we restore the RFS to its original intent and harness the power of biofuels to immediately address climate change concerns and decarbonize our transportation fleet. We are grateful to Rep. Craig and Rep. Johnson for their continued leadership on this issue.”