USW Statement on Need to Reform Renewable Fuels Standard

More information, contact: Roy Houseman – (202) 288-3573 or

The United Steelworkers (USW) today issued this statement from National Oil Bargaining Chairman Kim Nibarger after nine senators this week requested a meeting with the administration via letter to discuss imbalances created by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and the use of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) as its compliance mechanism:

“Inconsistent administration policy on the RFS threatens thousands of refinery jobs across the country. Independent refineries that provide good jobs for highly skilled workers cannot afford to keep pace as RINS have become commodities to be hoarded by the largest companies or bought and sold to the highest bidders on Wall Street.

The price of RINS spiked last week when the White House caved to pressure from the ethanol industry and other beneficiaries of the current system to reverse course on the point of obligation in the RFS.

Wild fluctuations in the market cost of RINS caused by whatever wind pushes the administration and the EPA from day to day severely hinder investment in domestic oil refining and are threatening our jobs and the communities where we live and work.

While our union often disagrees with some of the senators who signed the letter on policies that impact workers, we absolutely agree that the RFS must be reformed to reflect changes in the modern refining industry and account for the terrible health and safety record in the ethanol industry.”

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

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