Ernst plans to unveil Senate version of RFS Integrity Act

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined a bipartisan effort to provide more predictability to America’s farmers and biofuel producers by reforming the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) small refinery exemption process.

“For far too long, EPA has gotten away with handing out small refinery waivers like candy — with little transparency or congressional oversight — and to the benefit of Big Oil,” Sen. Ernst said on June 2. “This bipartisan effort shines light on the agency’s process and will help provide more predictability for Iowa’s hardworking farmers and biofuel producers who feed and fuel the world.”

Sen. Ernst and her colleagues plan to introduce the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Integrity Act of 2021. The companion bill, H.R. 1113, was introduced in February by U.S. Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Angie Craig (D-MN) to revise EPA requirements for exemptions from the RFS given to small refineries of crude oil, according to the congressional record summary of the bill.

The existing RFS requires transportation fuel to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel and the measure would establish an annual June 1 deadline for petitions by small refineries for exemptions from the RFS. In addition, the bill subjects information in the petition to public disclosure requirements.

According to information provided by Sen. Ernst’s office, the bill also would ensure that key information about small refinery exemptions is made publicly available, such as requiring the EPA to report to Congress on the methodology it uses when granting small refinery exemptions, and the extent to which the EPA granted or denied the requested relief, among other provisions.