Oil state senators ask EPA to gut RFS blending obligations

By Erin Voegele | August 24, 2021

A group of 17 republican oil state senators on Aug. 23 sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan urging the agency to waive or significantly reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard blending obligations for 2020 and set low renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2021 and 2022.

The letter discusses high renewable identification number (RIN) prices, claiming that EPA’s decision to reallocate  estimated volumes from small refinery exemptions (SREs) has played a role in raising RIN prices.

The senators are asking Regan to set the 2021 and 2022 RVOs below the E10 “blend wall,” citing RIN shortages they say would force obligated parties to cut fuel production or increase fuel exports.

The Renewable Fuels Association slammed the requests made by the oil state senators. “Yesterday’s letter from oil state GOP senators is par for the course and just rehashes the same tired arguments that have been disproven time and time again,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “It should come as no surprise to anyone that Senators Cruz, Cornyn, Inhofe, Barrasso and their Republican anti-ethanol colleagues are circling the wagons to protect the status quo for Big Oil and continuing their efforts to undermine cleaner, greener renewable fuels. We expect Administrator Regan and the White House will see right through this charade. Asking EPA to waive the 2020 RFS standards—which were finalized by the previous administration in 2019—is a fool’s errand; EPA has repeatedly stated that it does not have the authority to go back in time and change RFS volumes that have already been finalized. And the Biden administration knows that reducing the 2021 and 2022 RFS volumes would derail the President’s agenda related to clean energy, climate, and domestic manufacturing jobs. It would also mark a big step backward on the path to net zero GHG emissions by 2050. RFA continues to urge EPA to preserve the 2020 RVOs (that were finalized nearly two years ago) and move expeditiously to adopt strong RVOs for 2021 and 2022, including the statutory allotment of 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel annually.”

The letter is signed by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.; John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.; Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.;  John Kennedy, R-La.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; and Roger Wicker, R-Miss. A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Toomey’s website.