– Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, questioned witnesses in a hearing to examine the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

Last month, Ranking Member Capito led several of her colleagues in a letter asking the EPA to reconsider its proposed blanket denial of small refinery exemptions (SRE) under the RFS program as this runs counter to congressional intent under the Clean Air Act. Click here to read the full letter.


EPA’S BLANKET DENIAL OF SMALL REFINERY EXEMPTIONS: “Ms. Johnson, in your remarks, you were pretty clear about the small refinery exemption. Obviously I mentioned that in my opening remarks—my concerns. You’re probably aware of the case I brought forward of Ergon in West Virginia who has two favorable court decisions from the Fourth Circuit. Shouldn’t EPA take [this] into consideration…making regulatory decisions, that this was causing hardship on this small refinery? How would you respond to EPA’s blanket denial of everything when the courts have actually come forward and said it’s not a sound decision?”

BLENDING REQUIREMENTS & HIGH GAS PRICES: “Mr. Pugliaresi, your last chart…talks to me about where we see gas prices going and who really gets hurts the most. It talks about the rising cost of transportation fuels harms low-income and many minority communities. We know that if you if have to pay an extra $10-$15 to fill your car up, that hits that person who at the end of the month is looking for that $10-$15 to pay their electric bill or some other bill that’s also rising at the same time. You talked about the cost of blending is about 28-30 cents per gallon. So there’s a cost there…I’d like to hear your opinion on the overall high cost of gasoline and how we can deal with this issue of who’s getting hit hardest and how we can move [forward]. There’s proposals out here to get rid of the gas tax, but that’s 18 cents. That’s not even close to this.”

THE ONLY CERTAINTY IS UNCERTAINTY: “There is consensus that there’s a lack of certainty…You’re looking to us to provide some certainty so EPA can move forward. In my mind, nothing screams lack of certainty more than having an exemption that is revoked two years later. That to me is unconscionable, no matter what it’s happening to—whether it’s a corn producer or refiner or coal miner or anything—an EV car maker. If you have the okay and the permit to move forward, how can you possibly conduct business if somebody’s going to come back two years later and revoke it?”


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