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May 28, 2014

CREW Files FOIA With EPA To Uncover Influences on 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards

Environmental Protection AgencyWashington, D.C.—Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requests records from January 1, 2013 through the present related to the EPA’s proposal to decrease the amount of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel supplies in the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS).  News reports indicate the new standards are awaiting final approval at the Office of Management and Budget and should become public in June.

Read our Freedom of Information Act request to the EPA

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “The EPA seems to have made an unusual decision: for the first time decreasing, rather than increasing, the amount of renewable fuel required to be mixed into fuel supplies.  The American public deserves to know who influenced this apparent about-face.”   

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the Carlyle Group and Delta Air Lines, both of which own refineries in the Philadelphia area and are concerned about the impact of increased biofuel mandates, reached out to Reps. Robert Brady (D-PA) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA), respectively, and that in July 2013, Rep. Brady contacted Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who agreed to intercede. Rep. Meehan similarly lobbied White House officials on behalf of Delta, hand-delivering a letter to National Economic Counsel Director Gene Sperling and raising the issue with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. 

Following this report, last week, CREW requested that the EPA Inspector General investigate whether Carlyle and Delta improperly influenced the RFS proposed by the EPA to financially benefit their refineries.

CREW has requested internal EPA records about the 2014 RFS proposal as well as records of contacts with: 1) any and all other federal agencies; 2) White House individuals or offices, including but not limited to Mr. Sperling, Mr. McDonough, White House economic adviser Ronald Minsk, and any employee of the Office of Management and Budget; 3) any congressional offices, including but not limited to the offices of Reps. Brady and Meehan; and 4) any employees, representatives and/or lobbyists of Carlyle and Delta.

Ms. Sloan continued, “The EPA has said it proposed cutting the Renewable Fuel Standard based on production and infrastructure issues.  The records CREW has requested will reveal whether the change stemmed from legitimate policy considerations or realpolitik.”

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