August 16

August 16, 2019: Elected Officials Speak Out in Support of Refiners and SREs

Elected leaders around the country have applauded the latest issuance of small refinery exemptions (SREs) by the EPA.  SREs are a lawful, court-approved safety valve designed by Congress to ensure that America’s most vulnerable small refineries are not run aground under the weight of the government’s biofuels mandate. Political officials, like most Americans, recognize how important the country’s refining sector is to maintaining U.S. energy security and supporting jobs for hard-working Americans that help sustain entire communities.

Below is a snapshot of what political leaders in Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming have been saying in letters, press releases and on social media about small refinery exemptions and the RFS:

Sen. John Kennedy (Louisiana): “These exemptions are necessary to keep small refineries in business and protect tens of thousands of jobs across the U.S.  Louisiana can only help this country achieve energy independence if our refineries are allowed to thrive. These exemptions are a huge win, not just for the industry, but for workers and families across Louisiana.” (August 10, 2019 statement)

Rep. Steve Scalise (Louisiana): “Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, America is now the global leader in energy production, and our economy is thriving because of it. With the announcement that small refineries would be granted exemptions from the costly ethanol mandate, President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler are showing their continued leadership and understanding that these refineries, some of which are in Louisiana, are critical to keeping fuel costs low for American families, and protecting America’s energy security.” (link)

Gov. Phil Bryant (Mississippi): “When Congress enacted the RFS, it anticipated that the program might threaten the viability of small refineries, their employees, and the local communities that rely on them.  To prevent this, Congress included a provision in the law for the EPA to provide relief to refineries that are disproportionately impacted. Current data shows that SREs have not resulted in demand destruction for ethanol.  Rather, ethanol blending rates are steady, and exports are at all-time highs.  Denying SREs [would] harm energy employers and employees in my state.  Thus, I ask you to continue granting SREs.” (Excerpt from August 8, 2019 letter to EPA Administrator Wheeler.)

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): “Kudos to @EPAAWheeler for easing the burden of the costly + environmentally-destructive ethanol mandate. It’s going to help PA refineries stay competitive and working toward USA energy independence” (August 13, 2019 tweet)

Gov. Greg Abbot (Texas): “A measured and effective SRE program is of great significance to the State of Texas. The refining sector, the people it employs, the businesses that depend on refineries, and consumers all benefit from a workable and effective SRE program. The SRE program provides an essential safety valve, allowing for normalization of the prices of renewable identification numbers (RINs) at levels far closer to those anticipated at the outset of the RFS.” (Excerpt from July 12, 2019 letter to EPA Administrator Wheeler.)

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas): “Thank you President @RealDonaldTrump for protecting Texas farmers and refinery workers. The @EPA decision to grant small refineries hardship relief is a win for Texas, energy independence, and farmers across the state.” (August 13, 2019 tweet)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): “I applaud President Trump for standing with farmers and refinery workers in Texas and across the country who have helped fuel our economy, agricultural industry, and energy independence. The president's leadership stands in stark contrast to the Democrats, who this weekend are descending upon Iowa to continue championing the Green New Deal, a proposal that will devastate farmers and refinery workers across America. There is still more to do to address this issue, and I look forward to continuing to work with the president and EPA Administrator Wheeler to implement additional win-win solutions for our corn farmers and blue collar workers.” (August 9, 2019 statement)

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): “I applaud Administrator Wheeler for setting aside politics and following the law. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to grant relief to small refineries suffering disproportionate economic hardship under the Renewable Fuel Standard. During the Obama administration, EPA wrongly denied relief to small refineries and the federal courts rebuked the agency. The administrator deserves credit for upholding the statute and recognizing the importance of small refineries and the communities they support.” (August 12, 2019 statement)

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY): “I am glad the EPA recognized that exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard are necessary for small refineries to compete,” Enzi said. “The energy industry is essential to Wyoming’s economy and our nation’s energy independence. This decision to grant waivers for refineries that would otherwise see severe economic harm is good for workers in Wyoming and across the country.” (August 12, 2019 statement)