WASHINGTON D.C.  – According to Reuters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted one of the nation’s largest oil refining companies from having to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2016. The agency granted “hardship waivers” to three of the refiners’ operations despite the corporation’s net profits of $1.5 billion last year.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called the alleged actions “deeply disturbing,” noting that waiving RFS requirements for large refining corporations undercuts the effectiveness of the law. NFU is a staunch proponent of the RFS and its benefits to family farmers and their communities. Johnson issued the following statement in response to the reports:

“Granting waivers to large refiners directly undercuts the effectiveness of the RFS law, which was designed to increase demand for American-grown biofuels. ‘Hardship waivers’ weren’t designed for large corporations who net billions in profit each year.
“These actions directly contradict the President’s and the Administration’s promises to rural America to support the RFS. They are deeply disturbing to the American family farmers and rural communities who rely on biofuel production to power their economic engines. Exempting refiners from RFS compliance essentially waives away demand for corn at a time when family farmers need to significantly cut into corn oversupply and is certainly contrary to the intent of the RFS.
“What’s equally disturbing is that these actions have purportedly been taken without any transparency, which violates central tenets of responsible governance. We cannot hold our officials accountable for their actions when they are taken behind closed doors.
“Farmers Union requests Administrator Pruitt cease granting these waivers. The Administration must uphold its numerous promises to family farmers and rural communities to support the RFS.”

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