Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in pushing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to reconsider two proposed actions that would hurt small refineries in Louisiana and raise gas prices for Louisiana consumers.

The EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program requires petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil and jet fuel to contain a specific amount of renewable fuel. The EPA annually determines this Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO). Small refineries can receive temporary exemptions from the RVO if they can show that compliance with the RVO would cause them disproportionate economic hardship.

The EPA proposed to increase the 2022 RVO to unprecedented high levels and to deny all 65 pending small refinery exemptions without providing a cause.

“We are puzzled by the action EPA took in these proposals, including the unprecedented and drastic step to propose a blanket denial of all 65 outstanding small refinery hardship petitions at a time of increasing gasoline prices and several small refinery closures around the nation. The current proposal neglects not only its own economic impacts, but negates the intent of Congress in deliberately amending the Clean Air Act to allow for exemptions for small refiners that suffer disproportionate economic hardship from compliance with the RFS,” the senators wrote.

“With that in mind, we urge EPA to reconsider this effort to deny all 65 outstanding small refinery petitions and the proposal to set the RVO at unprecedented levels for 2022. Reconsidering these actions will provide much-needed relief and certainty for companies, employees, and communities across the country; bolster access to affordable, domestically-produced fuels for American consumers; and remove obstacles for an economy already facing significant challenges from inflation and other supply chain challenges,” the senators concluded.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) also signed the letter.

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