USW Disappointed in EPA Biofuel Blending Requirements

 Quotas Will Pressure Small Refineries, Threaten Oil Supply, Jobs 

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

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers union (USW) today expressed its disappointment in the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule setting biofuel blending percentages, after the agency increased requirements for 2021 and set quotas for 2022 at their highest level to date. 

“There are limits to how much ethanol an engine can burn, just as there is a ceiling for how much gasoline consumers can buy,” said Mike Smith, who chairs the USW’s National Oil Bargaining Program. “If we consider these constraints together, it’s clear that the biofuel thresholds are now unattainably high.” 

The union also decried the predictable impact of the final rule on a fundamental flaw in the renewable fuel program: the limited and unregulated market for renewable identification numbers (RIN).

“Our members and the industry need long-term stability,” said Smith. “Instead the rule will put increasing pressure on small, non-integrated refineries that rely on biofuel credits to meet their obligations. 

“High and fluctuating RIN prices jeopardize our members’ jobs, which is why the union submitted comments attesting to the undue burden this market puts on workers and their employers. Unfortunately, EPA failed to heed our warning.” 

Smith said that in a time of economic uncertainty that includes record high gas prices, regulators should be making it as simple as possible to refine oil domestically.

“Introducing more volatility into an already broken RIN system isn’t going to solve our nation’s energy crisis,” said Smith. “It’s only going to increase costs and jeopardize jobs.” 

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.



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