RFA tells EPA to deny “gap filling” petitions

May 26, 2020 |

In Washington, the Renewable Fuels Association urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deny new petitions submitted by refiners for past-year waivers from their renewable volume obligations. In a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper argued that granting such waivers would be unlawful, inconsistent with the statute, and contrary to EPA’s own policies and regulations. According to the letter, the petitions are nothing more than a “thinly veiled attempt to circumvent” the Tenth Circuit’s decision in January, in the case of Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. EPA, that struck down a number of exemptions granted by the agency.

In the letter, Cooper cited May 20 testimony by U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary Mark Menezes, who described these new petitions as “gap filings” intended to establish, without regard to merit, a continuous string of exemptions “to be consistent with the Tenth Circuit decision.” In January, the court found that refiners may only receive an exemption if it is an extension of a previously existing exemption. In light of the court’s ruling, some small refineries are now seeking retroactive exemptions for previous years to “fill the gaps” so that they may argue they had a continuously extended exemption.

According to RFA, some refiners are trying to “…pretend there could have been a hardship years ago that could justify the granting of an exemption today, years after the compliance deadline had passed for the year the exemption is sought. It is utterly preposterous that EPA would even consider requests for prior-year exemptions from refineries who readily complied with that year’s RFS obligations and who did not originally seek exemptions during the year of purported ‘hardship.’ Now, these refiners are attempting to re-write history in a cynical attempt to maintain an illegally exploited compliance loophole.”

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Category: Policy

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