Finkenauer Meets with Iowa Biofuels Producer after Testimony on SRE Impact

October 29, 2019
Press Release
Submits letter on call for GAO investigation to Energy & Commerce Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) met with Kelly Nieuwenhuis, an Iowa family farmer and president of Iowa-based and farmer-owned Siouxland Energy Cooperative. Finkenauer and Nieuwenhuis discussed how Iowans are being impacted by small refinery exemption (SRE) waivers, and other policy other policy proposals aimed at undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). 

Earlier Tuesday, Nieuwenhuis testified at the House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s hearing titled “Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers."

“Plain and simple, the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) abuse of small refinery exemptions under the RFS is crippling ruralAmerica...” Nieuwenhuis said, during his opening statement, “…Because of the EPA’s actions to help the oil industry’s bottom line, at the expense of farmers and biofuels producers, we had to make a hard decision to idle our plant and shut off a key market for hundreds of local farmers, including myself.” 

Nieuwenhuis was invited to testify by Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-02).

Congresswoman Finkenauer said, “It was incredibly important that an  Iowan impacted by this administration’s attacks on the Renewable Fuel Standard was able to share his story. Mr. Nieuwenhuis’ voice on this issue speaks for thousands of Iowans who are on the painful end of the president’s broken promises. I am hopeful today’s hearing moves us closer to holding the administration accountable for its attacks on the RFS, and that it pushes the administration to uphold its promises to Iowans.” 

Earlier this summer, Finkenauer led a bipartisan call for the Government Accountability Office to investigate the administration’s secretive process for granting small refinery exemption waivers.  

Congresswoman Finkenauer and the representatives are asking for the GAO to investigate:

        · The Environmental Protection Agency’s approval process for small refinery exemption waivers

        · The role of the Department of Energy in reviewing and scoring waiver applications

       · What factors are being considering in the assessment and approval of
these applications and whether changes have been made to the reviewprocess under the current Administration 

“Our concerns stem from the economic consequences to our rural communities created by exempting nearly 4 billion gallons of fuel from the RFS, a standard intended to expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector,” Congresswoman Finkenauer and the representatives wrote in the letter,“By 2016, the ethanol industry has grown to support over 339,000 U.S. jobs and driven $41 billion in economic activity by supporting corn and soy markets and reducing gasoline prices.”

Tuesday, Finkenauer 
submitted the letter to the Energy & Commerce Committee.