The Energy and Commerce Committee is continuing its investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's administration of the Renewable Fuel Standards Program. Under the program, EPA has discovered an increasing number of transactions made with fraudulent Renewable Identification Numbers. This problem has yet to be resolved and has actually grown worse. Full Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today requesting an update on the agency's efforts to combat RIN fraud.
In the letter to Jackson, the committee leaders wrote, "Unfortunately, the production of and trade in fraudulent or invalid RINs has developed into a large and growing problem. And EPA's efforts to address the problem so far appear ineffective, and in some respects have harmed the renewable fuels marketplace.
"Since the Committee's February 3, 2012 letter and EPA's February 23, 2012 response, there have been further troubling developments which have intensified the Committee's concerns. For example, the number of biodiesel RINs that EPA has now publicly identified as invalid has increased from approximately 80 million to nearly 140 million, with credible sources indicating to Committee investigators that the number could double in the coming months. However, it does not appear that the EPA has taken any steps to actually solve the problem."
The leaders are concerned EPA's negligence has compounded the problem by inserting more uncertainty into the marketplace and placing undue burdens on small businesses. They wrote, "This uncertainty is particularly devastating to smaller producers and market participants, as the "obligated parties' who must purchase the RINs back away from all but the largest and most well-known producers. This, in turn, has drastically distorted pricing in the RIN marketplace, making RINs more expensive and driving up costs for the "obligated parties.'"
Members are requesting EPA provide the committee with detailed information and documents related to the agency's management of RIN fraud.