Grassley slams EPA for overlooking DOE refinery recommendations

Source: BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2019

Grassley on Tuesday released a letter from Energy Secretary Rick Perry last week explaining the agency’s system for making recommendations to EPA on whether a refinery was suffering under the RFS. The letter notes that it sometimes recommends granting only a half waiver from the program, but that EPA has never done so. DOE also confirmed that it has on at least one occasion recommended no waiver, but EPA granted it anyway. To Grassley, this behavior is infuriating. “EPA is screwing around with the program to the detriment of agriculture and the ethanol industry,” Grassley told reporters Tuesday. “EPA needs to stop doing the bidding of big oil companies.”

DOE demurred: “Although DOE provides the results of the analysis findings for EPA to consider, EPA has exclusive authority to decide whether to grant a petition by a small refinery for an exemption from EPA’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) requirements,” a DOE official said.

EPA said Obama admin overrode DOE too: “The Obama Administration routinely completely denied all relief even when Obama Administration DOE recommended at least partial relief for a refinery,” EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said. “That didn’t make sense to completely deny relief, and the courts warned EPA against taking that approach.”