I thank Sen. Joni Ernst for standing up to the Environmental Protection Agency as it continues to try to sidestep the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

She’s calling EPA’s litany of small refinery exemptions exactly what they are: Illegal. She’s demanded that EPA follow the recent 10th Circuit court’s ruling, which invalidated several of the exemptions, as the “law of the land” and stop giving exemptions to refiners that don’t deserve them.

Congress adopted RFS more than a decade ago to build a domestic biofuel industry and a new market for American agriculture. The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry grew from 200 million gallons at the start of the program to more than

2 billion gallons today. It supports 65,000 jobs nationwide and is one of Iowa’s most important economic drivers.

Congress gave the EPA some flexibility to ensure the program didn’t disrupt other industries. But EPA abused that by inventing new hardship exemptions for dozens of oil refiners, according to the court. EPA handed out 85 of these exemptions in the past three years, claiming hardship even as the oil industry enjoyed some of its most profitable years.

Meanwhile, 10 biodiesel producers went out of business last year — including one in Iowa — and laid off workers because of EPA’s “arbitrary and capricious” actions. EPA has much more to do to put the RFS back on track and restore the faith of Middle America in this administration.

We know our Congressional delegation is fighting for integrity.