Buttigieg backs biofuels industry against refinery exemptions to RFS

Source: By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is pledging to stop the “abuse” of small refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard, a process that he says has been excessively used under the Trump administration to the detriment of U.S. farmers.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said he plans to side with biofuels and “rural America” by supporting the RFS “as written.”

“Pete will stop the abuse of small refinery exemptions established by the current administration, which allows fossil fuel giants to skirt their obligations to blend biofuels,” his campaign said Tuesday, as part of a plan he released on “unleashing the potential of rural America.”

Corn farmers and their representatives in Congress have accused the Trump administration of excessive use of the refinery exemptions, which they argue are eroding the market for ethanol.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that it exempted 31 oil refineries from 2018 requirements to use renewable fuel, while denying six applications — the first time the Trump administration denied small refiner exemption applications under the RFS.

Buttigieg, like other candidates, also calls for empowering rural communities to help combat climate change, by supporting R&D into soil carbon sequestration, providing incentives for farmers to conserve their land, and providing “resilience” grants to communities to help them prepare for climate-fueled weather disasters.