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Toomey Invites Top Federal Environmental Regulator To Tour Philly Area Refineries

Wants EPA Head to Get a Look at How Ethanol Mandate Threatens 1,600 Jobs

September 14, 2018
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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has invited the top official at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to visit the oil refineries in the Philadelphia area.

In a letter sent to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Senator Toomey writes that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which is a federal mandate requiring gasoline to contain up to ten percent ethanol, is imposing such high costs on refiners that it threatens local employment and the greater Philadelphia economy.

The EPA is responsible for administering the RFS.

"Since its creation over a decade ago, the RFS has failed to accomplish the originally-envisioned goals of tangible environmental benefits or improved energy independence," states Sen. Toomey. "Moreover, the RFS has imposed financial harm on motorists, the broader transportation sector, and domestic oil refiners. To achieve RFS compliance, merchant refineries must spend millions of dollars each year on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), money which would otherwise go toward needed capital investments and the hiring of additional workers. The RFS picks winners and losers amongst sources of energy, and has named merchant refiners, particularly those in the Philadelphia region, the losers."

Monroe Energy and Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the largest refining complex on the East Coast, are both located in the Philadelphia area and employ a combined 1,600 people. To comply with the RFS, these two refiners must spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to acquire so-called RINs. High and unpredictable RIN prices threaten the financial well-being of these facilities and jeopardize their high-paying, blue collar jobs. Earlier this year, PES declared bankruptcy in large part due to the unsustainable compliance costs associated with the RFS.

A copy of Senator Toomey's letter is below:

September 13, 2018

The Honorable Andrew Wheeler
Acting Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Wheeler,

As the Trump Administration prioritizes regulatory reform, it is important that future modifications to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) consider the economic impact to all sectors of the U.S. economy. To understand how the RFS impacts domestic refining employment and see why reforms are necessary to rein in this burdensome and costly government mandate, I invite you to join me in visiting one of the oil refineries in the Philadelphia region.

Since its creation over a decade ago, the RFS has failed to accomplish the originally-envisioned goals of tangible environmental benefits or improved energy independence. Moreover, the RFS has imposed financial harm on motorists, the broader transportation sector, and domestic oil refiners. To achieve RFS compliance, merchant refineries must spend millions of dollars each year on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), money which would otherwise go toward needed capital investments and the hiring of additional workers. The RFS picks winners and losers amongst sources of energy, and has named merchant refiners, particularly those in the Philadelphia region, the losers.

Philadelphia is home to two large refining complexes: Monroe Energy and Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the largest refining complex on the East Coast. These merchant refineries employ a combined 1,600 direct workers and support economic development and job creation throughout the region. Unfortunately, high and unpredictable RIN prices threaten the financial well-being of these facilities and jeopardize their high-paying, blue collar jobs. In fact, unsustainable RIN costs are the reason why PES declared bankruptcy earlier this year, and although the company has since emerged from bankruptcy, failure to directly address high, volatile RIN prices in a future EPA rulemaking would subject refineries across the country to similar financial hardship.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. The refineries and their workers have enthusiastically extended this invitation to show firsthand how the refining industry plays a critical role toward achieving and maintaining American energy independence.

Sincerely,




Pat Toomey
U.S. Senator