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Minnesota Senator pushing hard to stop “gap-year” RFS waivers

A member of the Senate Ag Committee says she’s pushing hard in a bipartisan way to make sure more than 50 so-called “gap year” small refinery exemption requests get denied.

Minnesota Democrat Tina Smith tells Brownfield the oil refineries behind these petitions are not living up to their legal obligation under the RFS.

“And it is hurting ethanol producers and corn producers, and it’s just bad for the biofuels industry generally. So I’m strongly opposed to what the EPA is doing, and it’s frustrating.”

She says there needs to be more transparency at EPA.

“Refinery waivers are called ‘secret’ for a reason, because the information isn’t just put right out there. And I think sometimes the big oil refineries say they need to keep this private for competitive reasons, but in the meantime we can’t tell whether they are following the letter of the law.”

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler acknowledged last week there are issues with the gap-year waiver requests, but he has yet to announce a determination.

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