Iowa Senators Praise Trump Administration Decision to Deny ‘Gap Year’ Waivers, Increase Access to E15
Sep 14, 2020
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a family farmer and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee and tireless advocate for the biofuel industry, today issued the following statements regarding the Administration’s announcements to deny so-called “gap year” petitions for small refinery exemptions (SREs) for past compliance years and clarify the ability of existing fuel infrastructure to support expanded E15 use.
“Senator Ernst and I have long called for ending so-called hardship exemptions for big oil companies. I’m glad the EPA is listening to our feedback and common sense from farmers and biofuel producers. The rejection of these exemptions come after a thorough review process from both the EPA and the Department of Energy. I’m proud to partner with Senator Ernst who has been a relentless advocate in calling for these exemptions to be rejected. She has demonstrated effective leadership holding the EPA accountable on renewable fuels,” Grassley said. “I applaud President Trump for keeping his word and supporting our farmers and biofuel producers. This is an important step that will allow more gas stations to provide E15 to Iowans year-round without significantly changing their infrastructure. I’m glad to work with Senator Ernst who has been a steadfast advocate for our biofuels community and called on the EPA to make this change earlier this year.”
“I’ve been calling for these ‘gap year’ waivers to be thrown out since they were announced. Now, the administration has listened to our calls for action. Today’s announcements will help provide more certainty to our biofuel producers, who have for too-long been yanked around by the EPA, and help increase access to E15, which drives up demand for corn and ethanol,” Ernst said. “The fight for Iowa’s renewable fuel industry, and our farmers, is not over. I’ll never stop being a relentless advocate for Iowa agriculture—holding EPA to their commitments and making sure the RFS is the law of the land.”
Since the “gap year” SREs were announced, Grassley and Ernst have called on the Administration to deny the waivers. Grassley and Ernst also blocked the nominee to be the Deputy Secretary at the Department of Energy, Mark Menezes, over the lack of transparency on the gap year waiver process.
In August, Grassley and Ernst joined Iowa leaders and President Trump in Cedar Rapids to discuss the impact of the derecho on the state. During their meeting, Ernst brought the concerns of Iowa’s farmers and producers directly to the president about the “gap year” SREs.
The Iowa senators also worked closely with the Trump administration to remove the outdated restriction on the sale of E15 year-round.