WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta this week vowed to continue fighting for steel and refinery workers against government over-regulation.
Barletta and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently joined refinery workers at a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol to address growing concerns about the ever-changing pricing of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). RINs are used to determine compliance with RFS.
According to information provided by Barletta’s office, the RFS program was created in 2005 in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. It does so by mandating the use of ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply.
Barletta said RINs are necessary to demonstrate compliance with this mandate. When instituted, RINs were not expected to cost more than 3 cents per credit, but have since skyrocketed to $1.40 each, which is more than most merchant refineries can afford, according to the congressman.
For example, in 2010, Barletta said PES, a Pennsylvania-based refinery, paid $10 million in RIN regulatory costs.
“In 2017, that figure jumped to $218 million, which is double their payroll,” Barletta said in a press release. “Earlier this year, they were forced to file for bankruptcy, putting thousands of jobs at risk.“
Barletta, R-Hazleton, said refineries directly and indirectly support more than 30,000 jobs — the type of good-paying, family-sustaining jobs that Cruz and Barletta said they are dedicated to protecting.
“We will not stop fighting until there is a solution on the table that provides price certainty for our refineries,” Barletta said.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.