A letter issued last week by a bipartisan group of senators urging the environmental protection agency to not grant petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard is being followed by another from the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.

The first letter — led by Iowa Republicans Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley and Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois — was sent Thursday by 14 Midwest senators. They argued granting the petitions would “worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports while violating EPA’s own policy on this issue.”

“We urge you to reject these petitions outright and respond in writing to our questions about recent use of SREs under the RFS. These petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit decision, congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and — most importantly — the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry,” the letter stated.

Ernst also announced last week that she would block the nomination of Doug Benevento to be EPA's Deputy Administrator, effectively eliminating his path through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Ernst said the opposition to Benevento and any other EPA nominee would remain "until EPA tells us exactly what they plan to do with the 'gap year' waivers." 

The second letter, signed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, was issued on Monday.

“If these applications are approved, another unnecessary financial burden will be placed on the nation’s farmers and consumers,” the letter from the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition stated. “If all 52 applications are approved, the market will lose more than two billion gallons of biofuel blending requirements.”

For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com.