House passes bill that aims to increase SRE transparency

Source: By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 24 passed the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act, or H.R. 4447, by a vote of 229 to 187. The bill includes provisions of the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act.

The Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act was introduced by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., in May 2019. The original version of the bill aimed to increase transparency in the Renewable Fuel Standard and ensure any waived volumes are reallocated. It also would ensure key information surrounding small refinery exemptions (SREs) is publicly disclosed and would set a deadline for refineries to submit SRE applications, ensuring that the U.S. EPA would reallocate waived volumes to non-exempt obligated parties.

Peterson announced on Sept. 15 that the text of the Clean Economy Job and Innovation Act, or H.R. 4447, released by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce includes provisions of the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act.

According to Peterson, the provisions included in H.R. 4447 would set an annual deadline for refineries to request exemptions from the RFS and require EPA to publicly release the name of refineries requesting a waiver, the number of gallons requested to be waived, and the number of gallons of biofuel that will not be blended as a result of the waiver. He said these provisions mirror the provisions of the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act with adjustments to address business confidentiality concerns that were raised by members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The National Biodiesel Board has spoken out to thank Peterson for including the provisions of the RFS Integrity Act in the newly passed energy legislation. “This is a commonsense step to ensure that RFS biomass-based diesel volumes are fully met and to prevent a recurrence of the demand destruction for biodiesel that we’ve seen over the past several years,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs at NBB. “Biodiesel and renewable diesel producers have a right to know how many gallons of their product may be lost from RFS volumes when major refiners like Exxon ask for special treatment.”

Growth Energy applauded passage of the bill. “After years of EPA mismanagement, this legislation would finally give farmers and biofuel producers a long-overdue peek at EPA’s secretive and destructive process,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “EPA’s lack of transparency on refinery exemptions sends mixed signals to the market and leaves billions of gallons of demand at the mercy of regulatory whim. This long-overdue fix would begin to close the book on abuse and put rural America on a stable footing while we rebuild the agricultural supply chain. We’re grateful to Chairman Peterson and his co-sponsors for their efforts to get this critical legislation through the House of Representatives and on to the Senate.”

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