Over the past three years, the negative impact of small refinery exemptions (SREs) can be clearly measured in ethanol plant closures and in destroyed demand for biofuels across the nation to the tune of over 4 billion gallons of cleaner-burning, renewable ethanol. The number of secretive and unfair SREs granted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has skyrocketed over the past few years with devastating consequences for ethanol producers and farmers all to line the pockets of big oil. As Growth Energy’s annual Biofuels Summit kicks off, educating our elected officials on the full impact that SREs have will be a top priority.
To give attendees the most recent picture on the state of SREs and how they’re hurting rural America today, we hosted a panel entitled “Latest in Washington: Small Refinery Exemptions” to discuss how we’re fighting to ensure EPA will act to restore lost gallons. Our panel was moderated by Growth Energy’s Vice President of Government Relations John Fuher and included Growth Energy’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Elizabeth Funderburk, Growth Energy General Counsel Joe Kakesh, DuPont Manager of Federal Government Affairs James Carstensen, and Green Plains, Inc. Vice President of Government Affairs Devin Mogler.
The panel highlighted the negative impact of SRES and examined the media, legislative, and legal strategies that we are deploying collectively to compel EPA to follow the law and improve transparency in the SRE process.
“After just being a blip during the last Administration, we’ve seen [SREs] explode under the current administration,” Fuher said. “That’s 4 billion gallons of lost biofuel in the last three years. And as you know, each of those have been awarded after the compliance deadline closes for that year’s RINs, further complicating the impacts.”
The exemption process currently employed by EPA has thrown a shroud over how exemptions are awarded and precipitously increased the number of exemptions given to oil companies. However, by not reallocating the biofuels gallons lost as a result of those exemptions, EPA is effectively reducing the number of gallons that are blended and shifting economic hardship onto our nation’s rural communities. As conference attendees take to the Hill to meet with their elected officials tomorrow, the insights provided by our panelists will prove invaluable to effectively communicating why the EPA must change course on SREs immediately.
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