In April, Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar led a bi-partisan group of Senators asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a list of recipients of hardship waivers under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). A copy of the letter may be found here.
Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt never responded to the request. Scott Pruitt has since resigned and there is an interim EPA Administrator in Andrew Wheeler. Within a few days after Wheeler took control, the Senators received an answer to their request. Well, not exactly an answer. It was more of a non-answer. The EPA claims releasing the list of recipients would be a violation of “Confidential Business Information.”
Audio: Agribusiness Matters
Senator Grassley released the following statement:
“The idea that disclosing to Congress the names of waiver recipients somehow reveals confidential business information doesn’t make any sense and isn’t acceptable. Providing Congress with the names of recipients wouldn’t reveal any details about their operations or finances. It’s a necessary first step to making sure the law is being followed. We already know many of the companies that have received so-called hardship waivers through news reports, likely because many of the companies have a financial interest in making that information public or have an obligation to their shareholders to do so. I appreciate finally receiving a response within days of acting Administrator Wheeler taking the reins at EPA, but this non-answer is disappointing.
“EPA’s acknowledgment that only one waiver applicant has been denied in the past couple years raises questions about the legitimacy of the process. The agency seems to be using a rubber stamp to help Big Oil skirt the law. EPA’s implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard law isn’t above congressional oversight. No government agency and no law is. I plan on discussing this issue soon with acting Administrator Wheeler, and I hope EPA is more forthcoming under his leadership than his predecessor’s.”