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Nebraska Farm Bureau Asks EPA to Reject New Round of Small-Refinery Exemption Requests

LINCOLN, NEB. – Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) expressed deep concern about the attempt by some in the oil industry to yet again, circumvent the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) looks to review the large number of petitions for waivers for past years that have been received, NEFB is urging that they be denied, said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson in a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“The granting of these petitions would not only go against congressional intent, judicial precedent, EPA rules, and procedures, but would also cause substantial economic harm to Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers,” he said.

The RFS was developed to help drive investment in cleaner domestic fuels and give American consumers more choices and lower prices at the pump. However, since its inception, the oil industry has worked tirelessly to find new and creative ways to get around the requirements set into law by the RFS.

“This latest attempt to skirt the recent Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision by working to petition the EPA to grant ‘gap year’ waivers don’t even follow EPA’s long-standing rules regarding hardship waivers. It also comes during one of the hardest economic times for both farmers as well as ethanol producers. The EPA must deny these petitions to help preserve the integrity of RFS and provide certainty to the renewable fuels marketplace,” Nelson said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver ruled on Jan. 24 that the EPA improperly granted small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2017 and 2018. The agency has yet to announce changes to the program in response to the court’s ruling.

“NEFB along with many who support the U.S. renewable fuels industry are asking to help preserve the RFS in the face of near constant attacks. We also take very seriously President Trump’s promises to expand America’s renewable energy portfolio and protect America’s ethanol industry. Please help make good on those promises and deny these new attempts to undercut our nation’s farmers and biofuels producers,” Nelson said.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service, and advocacy efforts. More than 58,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit

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