By now, it’s common knowledge that Scott Pruitt’s EPA is in love with fossil fuel companies. Still, it never loses its sting that the organization meant to safeguard our skies and protect the health of our planet is more invested in the financial health of oil giants than it is in its own mandate.
This week brings a fresh outrage: apparently, the EPA is exempting one of the nation’s largest oil refining companies, Andeavor, from complying with any U.S. biofuel regulations. Normally, this waiver is reserved for isolated cases in which tiny operations are in danger of bankruptcy. By extending the protection to a giant like Andeavor, the EPA is essentially telling Big Oil they can ignore alternative fuel sources and rely on the same petrochemicals that are currently warming our planet:
Bob Dinneen, head of the Renewable Fuels Association, reacted to the report by calling the exemption an “outrageous abuse” of the law.
“Providing a small refiner waiver to a company like Andeavor is laughable and abandons the commitment of President Trump to protect the RFS,” he said in a statement.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican who represents Iowa – the nation’s largest corn-growing state – and a staunch defender of the biofuels program, raised questions over the legality of the exemption.
Giving Andeavor “a free pass when other companies are required to follow the law of the land isn’t just unfair, it may be illegal,” Grassley said late Tuesday in a statement to Reuters. “It would also amount to a massive government handout to a big corporation that made billions in profits just last year.”
The exemption releases the firm of its obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance at the three refineries – two located in North Dakota and one in Utah – for the year 2016, which would have come due this year, the sources said. Andeavor is also asking EPA for a waiver for its 2017 obligations for the same refineries, but has not yet received a decision, the sources said.
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