• The Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley

Midwest Republican senators urge Wheeler to suspend SRE decisions until Supreme Court rules

Updated: Jan 18


Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa joined their Republican colleagues from the Midwest, Sens. Roger Marshall, Mike Rounds, Deb Fischer, Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley in sending a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging him to avoid making any decisions on small refinery exemptions (SREs) until after the Supreme Court rules in the Renewable Fuels Association et al v EPA case.

“Alarming new reports indicate that your EPA may issue numerous pending SREs which would be a devastating blow to biofuels producers and the farmers who sell to them,” the members wrote.

“Ethanol and biodiesel plants that are already struggling to cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 are at risk of closing their doors, cutting off key markets for farmers. Many biofuel plants have already been forced to shutter their doors over the past four years… Granting additional SREs at this time would be inconsistent with the unanimous Tenth Circuit ruling in Renewable Fuels Association et al v EPA. We therefore implore you to summarily freeze any decisions on the pending SREs until the Supreme Court has ruled,” the members concluded.

Jeff Jorgenson, Iowa Soybean Association president, said, “Small refinery exemptions have stifled demand for biodiesel production’s primary feedstock, soybean oil. This last-ditch effort by EPA would not only deal another blow to soybean demand but also run contradictory to the Tenth Circuit ruling as another attempt to undermine the RFS. We’re grateful for our two stalwart champions of homegrown biofuels in the U.S. Senate, Sens. Ernst and Grassley, and thank them for standing up to the EPA at a time when farmers, biodiesel producers, and rural communities are already dealing with the economic realities of COVID-19 and last August’s historic derecho.”

Gran Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, said, “EPA’s continued abuse of hardship exemptions for oil refiners in the waning hours of Administrator Wheeler’s tenure is another blatant attempt to undermine the RFS law, and will cause lasting damage to biodiesel producers, who make up a vital U.S. manufacturing industry. We thank Sens. Grassley and Ernst for continuing to fight for American-made fuel and our heartland farmers.”

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