Trish McFarland, President of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, testified to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The US Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program in 2005 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. However, in its current state, the RFS is wreaking havoc on our nation’s independent refiners, especially the last remaining ones here in the Delaware County. Without meaningful reform, starting with revisions to the proposed RVO, these refiners may disappear forever, taking with them thousands of direct jobs and tens of thousands more that indirectly rely on these facilities, while also greatly diminishing our country’s energy security. We cannot allow this to happen because a thriving economy impacts the residents, municipalities, and institutions of Delaware County, as well as all of Pennsylvania and support of pro-energy policies, such as improvements to RFS, will go a long way towards keeping Delaware County a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
Indeed, when Monroe Energy restarted the Trainer Refinery, located in Trainer Borough, Delaware County in 2012, there was a collective sigh of relief in our county and region for the many generations of workers who have been employed there; providing them with a lifetime of family-sustaining work. Restarting the facility has not only proven valuable to the direct employees who got their jobs back; it has also been a boon to our regional economy as well, as they have invested well over $1.2 billion dollars. And since then, Monroe has been a vital partner in the economic revitalization of our county and to the energy industry in Pennsylvania.
It takes a lot of support to operate a facility like Monroe Energy, and many local businesses here in Delaware County and throughout our region depend on the work opportunities the refinery provides. In addition to the nearly 500 highly skilled employees who work at the facility full time, hundreds of talented contractors perform work on site every day, including members of the Philadelphia Building Trades. While this provides a major benefit to Delaware County, their impact reverberates throughout our tristate region. The refinery collectively provides millions of dollars of direct tax benefits to local municipalities, school districts, the County and the Commonwealth. Monroe also has a reputation for doing great work out in the community, with any employees volunteering their time and effort supporting a wide variety of charitable endeavors.
The current state of the RFS threatens all of these crucial benefits that Monroe and other independent refineries provide to their respective communities, and without reform, these facilities risk closing their doors forever. I respectfully urge the EPA to revise the proposed RVO by reducing the blending requirements to at least 13.9 billion gallons per year for each of the next three years. Doing so will inject much-needed liquidity in the RIN market, allowing for the cost of RFS compliance to return to reasonable levels, because as it currently stands, having RFS compliance costs that are more than double the purchase price of your company, is simply unsustainable and surely not what Congress envisioned when it created the RFS.
The ongoing war in Ukraine coupled with supply and demand issues related to domestic fuel production, have continued to drive up the price of goods and services for our member companies and for consumers. Our region cannot afford to lose a major employer like Monroe Energy due to a federal program that has gone awry. It is my sincere hope that the EPA will consider the countless ripple effects that would occur if the Agency does not make meaningful change, again, starting with reducing the proposed RVO to levels that align with the reality of our blending infrastructure and capabilities.