WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a family farmer and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement regarding today’s announcement from EPA of the 2019 renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. EPA is required by law to announce annually the blending level requirements for the following year by November 30.

“The biofuels blending levels for 2019 are good news for farmers, biofuels producers and all Americans. The increased levels are an encouraging development after a year of underwhelming and often disappointing news from EPA. These levels are a promise made by EPA in line with congressional intent and the spirit of the Renewable Fuel Standard law. The true test of this promise is with the implementation of the program and how many gallons of biofuels are actually blended.

“Under former Administrator Pruitt, EPA broke the spirit and potentially the letter of the law by issuing so-called ‘hardship’ waivers to multibillion dollar oil companies exempting them from their legal obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. I’m disappointed the rule didn’t reallocate waived volumes to make up for the damage done by former Administrator Pruitt.

“After a meeting with Acting Administrator Wheeler earlier this week, I’m optimistic about the potential for a revisiting of this practice. It would be long overdue and show that the Trump administration and Acting Administrator Wheeler care about righting the ship at EPA after the prior administrator’s mismanagement and poor leadership. The handling of these applications is ripe for review. There’s no good reason oil companies making billions of dollars in profits should be exempted from following the law as passed and intended by Congress.

“Specifically, I’m glad levels for biodiesel are maintained and slightly increased. And although the levels for advanced biofuels and cellulosic biofuels don’t represent the full potential of the industry, they are very promising and will help significantly. These represent the future of biofuels and domestic renewable energy production. Altogether, levels for 2019 total nearly 20 billion gallons. That’s a significant bright spot in the agricultural economy and for farmers who haven’t had a whole lot of good news the past few years.”

“Acting Administrator Wheeler should be commended for his commitment to following the law and repairing EPA’s relationship with Congress, Midwest agriculture and American farmers. I hope that relationship continues to strengthen in the year to come.