Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in urging the Trump Administration to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and reject requests for the RFS to be waived.

In a bipartisan letter to President Trump, Brown and his colleagues outlined the importance of upholding the RFS, especially during COVID-19, which has already caused harm to the agriculture sector and biofuels community. The senators also underscored the detrimental impacts a waiver would have on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices, and the environment. The letter was led by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

“Waiving the RFS would cause further harm to the U.S. economy, especially our most vulnerable rural communities. It would also exacerbate the effects experienced by the biofuel sector as a result of COVID-19, causing far-reaching detrimental impacts on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices, and the environment,” the senators wrote. “The resiliency of America’s renewable fuel industry has already suffered as a result of the EPA’s drastic expansion of the small refinery waiver program in recent years.”

The senators went on to reject the legality of the waivers: “Recent requests for a waiver of the RFS are unjustified and clearly do not satisfy the rigorous requirements necessary for EPA consideration. RFS waivers can only be granted by EPA if there is a demonstration of ‘severe harm’ to the economy or environment of a state, region or the United States that is directly caused by the RFS. None of these standards are met today and the following reasons clearly demonstrate the case for rejecting the waiver requests…”

Brown is a long-time supporter of sensible biofuel production that promotes Ohio agriculture and reduces the need for foreign oil.

In December, Brown blasted the Trump Administration after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they are setting the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements at 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol. The new rule falls short of providing farmers and the biofuels industry the certainty needed to make important business decisions.

Brown also  slammed the Trump Administration in September for abusing the use of federal waivers to help big oil while undercutting farmers and rural economies. The Administration is using ‘small refinery waivers’ to grant exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard for some of the world’s largest oil companies, driving down demand for biofuels by more than 1.4 billion gallons. Brown joined Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Senate colleagues to send a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, calling on EPA to stop the abuse of these waivers and end the harm to rural economies and farmers across the country.

A copy of the letter can be read here.