Growth Energy Responds to GAO Report on Small Refinery Exemptions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in response to the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report titled, “Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Actions Needed to Improve Decision Making in the Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE)”, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement:

“While GAO’s report does not accurately reflect the goal of the RFS and mischaracterizes nearly two decades of RFS implementation, it confirms what we already know: small refiners do not bear any disproportionate burden in complying with the RFS and the RFS does not raise gas prices.

“As written directly in the law, SREs may only be granted to refiners when RFS compliance causes ‘disproportionate economic hardship’. It has been repeatedly shown that the RFS does no such thing, because refiners recover the costs of acquiring RINs. The American Petroleum Institute, Environmental Protection Agency, and others have all confirmed that refiners recoup the value of these credits when products are sold to fuel blenders. In its own report, GAO acknowledges that its analysis fails to consider whether small refineries face disproportionate economic hardship.

“In the past, SREs were improperly granted to refiners, not because of disproportionate economic hardship, but as a political tool to let the oil industry off the hook for its biofuel blending obligations. President Biden himself condemned the past abuse of refinery exemptions that ‘decimated our trade economy and forced ethanol plants to shutter.’ That demand destruction came at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers – in addition to American drivers who lost access to lower-cost, lower-carbon fuel options at the pump.

“This report does a disservice to the recent progress EPA has made since halting the abuse of SREs nationwide, in line with a key holding issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.”