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Senators discuss ethanol and oil company hardships in hearing

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, speaking to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during a Senate hearing Wednesday, discussed challenges facing the ethanol industry.

Ernst expressed her frustration with oil companies and politicians who say that, because the petroleum industry is struggling, Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) blending requirements should be waived. 

“The idea that the RFS is the cause of harm to the petroleum sector when it is very clearly the COVID-19 pandemic as well as wars between Russia and Saudi Arabia on oil production, this is frustrating to me and to my farmers in Iowa.”

Wheeler said EPA has not yet decided how to handle those waiver requests.

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso told Wheeler oil refiners in his state are struggling because of the 10th Circuit Court ruling on RFS small refinery exemptions.

“The EPA’s failure to challenge the standing claims of the biofuels producers in the 10th Circuit, to me, is inexcusable. The EPA’s failure to seek a rehearing on the recent 10th Circuit ruling was inexplicable.”

Wheeler told Barrasso he is aware of the struggles of those small refiners.

“I have talked personally with a number of small refiners all over the country and we are working with them to see what we can do to help them during this time.”

Wheeler testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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