Biofuel supporters continue asking EPA for answers about SRE “gap filings”

Nine pro-ethanol groups have written to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler opposing several retroactive applications for Small Refinery Exemptions.

Emily Skor with Growth Energy says, “It’s the latest in a string of tactics designed to subvert the law and sidestep a very strong and definitive court order to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard, so that’s the impetus behind this letter.”

Skor tells Brownfield the so-called “gap filings” are from oil refiners attempting to circumvent the Tenth Circuit Court ruling by allowing refiners to apply for SRE’s so they can show a continuous need, and not comply with ethanol blending requirements in the Renewable Fuel Standard. “EPA has yet to follow through on that court decision, and now hearing about these gap filings, it just feels like we’re taking two steps backward so we’ve got to keep the pressure upon the administration and through our hill champions.”

Twenty-four Senators, 44 Representatives, plus some Governors and Mayors have also written to the EPA asking them not to undermine the RFS and reject the retroactive requests for Small Refinery Exemptions. 

Skor says further litigation might lead to an eventual court decision on gap filings, but so far, she says EPA hasn’t released any information so filing the case would be a challenge.

The ag groups wrote to Administrator Andrew Wheeler Tuesday asking how many petitions are filed and what compliance years the new gap filings are for.  They also want to know what the energy department’s recommendations were, and under what authority does EPA have to grant the “gap filing” petitions. 

The additional SRE petitions came to light during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meeting on May 20th.  Department of Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes said EPA was sending the additional filings for DOE review.

The latest letter to Administrator Andrew Wheeler was sent Tuesday by: Growth Energy, the National Biodiesel Board, the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, the American Farm Bureau, the American Soybean Association, the National Farmers Union, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and Fuels America.

Monday’s letter to President Trump about the gap waivers from the U.S. House was signed by: Abby Finkenauer and Dave Loebsack of Iowa, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Collin Peterson, Jim Hagedorn and Angie Craig of Minnesota, Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood of Illinois, Ann Wagner, Vicky Hartzler, and Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri, Don Bacon of Nebraska, Cheri Bustos and Mike Bost from Illinois, Mark Pocan from Wisconsin, & Dusty Johnson of South Dakota.

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