USW Welcomes EPA Proposed Rule on Renewable Fuel Standards

Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444,

The United Steelworkers union (USW) today welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on the renewable fuel standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations (RVO). The rule, which sets annual renewable fuel volumes and percentages for biofuels, is traditionally updated every year, but a new rule has not been issued since 2019.

“This is an important step in providing needed clarity for the oil industry, one that will help companies make plans for the future and which in turn will help create a more favorable environment for job retention and creation,” said Mike Smith, who chairs the USW’s National Oil Bargaining Program.

The EPA also announced an informal proposal on small refinery exemptions alongside the RVO rule, which the USW will review. These exemptions have historically been an important tool to retain union-represented oil refinery jobs given the inconsistency in implementation of the RFS.

Smith said that while the USW applauded the Biden administration for finally putting out an RVO proposal, the rule does not address what the union sees as fundamental flaws with the RFS, including the unregulated market for renewable identification numbers (RIN).

“High and fluctuating RIN prices jeopardize USW members’ jobs at independent refineries,” Smith said. “While it was clear that our industry was long overdue for guidance in this area, our union will also continue to push Congress and the administration for larger reforms to the RFS so that workers and their communities have even more long-term stability.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers 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 health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222