Ethanol group critical of last-minute waivers, unsure if Biden administration will be better

The President of the American Coalition for Ethanol says the EPA’s approval of three more ethanol blending waivers the day before Administrator Andrew Wheeler left office is a painful reminder of EPA’s refinery-win-at-all-cost mentality.

Brian Jennings tells Brownfield the last three Small Refinery Exemptions might not seem like much, but the damage to renewable fuels over the last four years has been severe. “Over the four-year term for President Trump, his EPA has approved nearly ninety refinery exemptions, eighty-eight to be exact, and that’s eroded about four and a half billion gallons from what the statute, from what the law called for.”

Jennings says the American Coalition for Ethanol has not sought court action to block the new waivers, but they have asked for an internal EPA investigation. “We’ve called on the Inspector General of the EPA to investigate these, these last-minute ‘pardons’ if you will, for these refineries to make sure that Mr. Wheeler was doing things by the book.”

Jennings calls the 88 waivers Presidential pardons for refiners, forgiving them for not following the RFS law, and he is not sure things will improve under new President Biden.  “We were burned under the Obama administration with their blend wall waiver of the RFS. We had to take the Obama EPA to court. We won that case, and we still haven’t seen EPA restore those gallons. We were also badly burned by the Trump EPA.”

Jennings says when he talked to Brownfield a week ago, he felt the industry had worked well together and Members of Congress had been mobilized to push back, but the three new Small Refinery Exemptions still went through.

Brian Jennings from the American Coalition for Ethanol discusses 1/19/21 EPA Small Refinery Waivers with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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