Grassley, Ernst Oppose Energy Department Nominee, Call for Greater Transparency on “Gap Year” Small Refinery Waiver Process
Aug 04, 2020
WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), longtime champions for Iowa’s farmers and renewable fuel industry, today voted against Mark Menezes, nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Energy.
“Given the uncertainty with the ‘gap year’ small refinery waivers, the wasted time and resources to score the waivers again, the lack of transparency in the entire process, and most importantly, the toll this has taken on Iowa’s farmers and biofuel producers, we could not in good faith support Mr. Menezes at this time,” Grassley and Ernst said.
Following their opposition, the senators are continuing their push for greater transparency and certainty for Iowa’s farmers and producers, asking the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide the public with information on DOE's score of each petition and when the score recommendation was transmitted back to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Since your last correspondence, we have learned of six more petitions for SREs that EPA has asked DOE to score. Granting these petitions would increase the pain facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that biofuels support. These petitions threaten to undercut the RFS and fail to meet the standard set by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision on the use of SREs,” Grassley and Ernst wrote.
“You stated in your response to us that you are reviewing petitions already reviewed by DOE. We are concerned DOE wasted valuable time and resources to score these petitions again…We also request that you provide the public with information on DOE's score of each petition and when the score recommendation was transmitted back to EPA.”
Full text of the letter can be found HERE.
In May, Grassley and Ernst joined a bipartisan effort urging the Trump Administration to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and reject requests for the RFS to be waived.
Grassley and Ernst also joined Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on bipartisan legislation to support biofuel producers negatively affected by the pandemic.
On June 26th Ernst and Grassley sent a letter to Menezes requesting information on the technical analysis of SREs at DOE. Menezes responded to their inquiry and stated that they had received petitions from EPA that had already been scored by DOE.