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GAO to Investigate EPA Misuse of Small Refinery Exemptions
Iowa Ag Connection - 01/14/2020

Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) announced that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) had responded to a letter written by bipartisan members of the House Biofuels Caucus, including Axne and Rep. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), requesting an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) misuse of small refinery exemptions. The GAO accepted the request, and according to the letter will "begin work shortly."

"Year after year, this administration has let Iowans down by issuing an unprecedented number of small refinery exemptions," Rep. Axne said. "These exemptions are a handout to big oil at the expense of ethanol producers and Iowa farmers. I am pleased that the GAO will conduct an investigation of the EPA's handling of these exemptions."

Since 2017, the EPA has issued over eighty small refinery exemptions (SREs), resulting in the loss of demand for billions of gallons of renewable fuel and millions of bushels of corn.

On Aug. 21, Axne joined bipartisan members of the House Biofuels Caucus, including Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, in requesting the GAO conduct an investigation of the Environmental Protection Agency's handling of SREs. Axne also requested an investigation by the EPA's Office of Inspector General.

In addition to Axne and Peterson, the original request was also backed by Abby Finkenauer, Rodney Davis, Roger Marshall, Dave Loebsack, Mike Bost, Don Bacon, Dusty Johnson, Cheri Bustos, Adam Kinzinger and Darin LaHood.

In its reply to Axne, GAO Orice Williams Brown, managing director of its congressional relations, said the department accepted the request as work within its scope of authority.

"As applicable, we will also be in contact with the cognizant Inspector General's office to ensure that we are not duplicating efforts. If an issue arises during this coordination, we will consult with you regarding its resolution," Brown wrote.

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