Dorgan, Talent urge Congress to investigate Pruitt’s ethanol waivers | TheFencePost.com

Dorgan, Talent urge Congress to investigate Pruitt’s ethanol waivers

Former Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and James Talent, R-Mo., who played major roles in the legislation that created the Renewable Fuel Standard, said that Congress should investigate the waivers to the RFS that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has granted.

In the statement released by the National Biodiesel Board, Dorgan and Talent said: "Lawmakers from across the heartland have already demanded the EPA stop abusing these waivers, but Congress can and should do more. The public deserves real answers from Administrator Pruitt about handouts granted under cover of night."

"The waiver provisions established by Congress provide flexibility in dealing with the smallest refining companies, producing fewer than 75,000 barrels per day, and only in unique cases presenting disproportionate economic hardship," they said.

"But the EPA has warped those provisions to grant tens of millions of dollars in regulatory handouts at the expense of farmers, biofuel workers and American consumers.

"The EPA's actions not only undermine the intent of Congress, they undermine a renewable energy industry that supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Congress has a right and an obligation to investigate the approval process for each and every handout.

"The RFS remains the single most successful energy policy working to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, while delivering real economic and environmental benefits. It supports prosperity across rural America and brings cleaner, more affordable options to the fuel pump, including blends of American-made ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels. The president vowed time and again to support the RFS, and Congress should work with the White House to make certain that Administrator Pruitt is staying true to that promise in public and behind closed doors."

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Dorgan is a policy adviser at the Arent Fox law firm, and his clients include the NBB. Talent is chair of Americans for Energy Security and Innovation, a group that supports homegrown, renewable energy to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

The NBB noted that it has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request aimed at shedding light on small refiner exemptions requested and issued under the RFS, and joined the American Soybean Association and the National Renderers Association urging President Donald Trump "to keep his promises to rural voters to uphold a strong RFS."

"Granting secretive 'hardship' waivers to some of the nation's most profitable petroleum giants undermines the law and destroys demand for homegrown biofuels," said Kurt Kovarik, NBB's vice president of federal affairs. "We applaud the efforts of the senators to shed light on EPA's actions." ❖