Waive the RFS? That’s nonsense, says ethanol industry.

Biofuels groups hooted at an oil state request that the EPA waive the ethanol mandate because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Nonsensical,” said the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) on Thursday. Growth Energy chief Emily Skor said, “We’ve seen the courts reject this kind of abuse before.”

The governors of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, and Utah asked the EPA in a letter for a waiver from the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires refiners to mix biofuels into gasoline, due to the sharp drop in fuel use during the coronavirus emergency. The mandate poses “existential harm for some of the refineries in our states,” they said.

“The EPA has no authority to grant relief when the RFS itself is not the cause of the ‘severe economic harm,’ a fact that has been reconfirmed by EPA multiple times in the past when it denied similar nonsensical waiver requests,” said RFA chief executive Geoff Cooper. Ethanol demand has plummeted in tandem with the drop in gasoline consumption. “A general waiver at this point would only serve to close more ethanol plants and kill more jobs across rural America.”

The National Biodiesel Board said the EPA “long ago established that waiver petitions must demonstrate that the RFS is the direct cause of severe economic harm.”