U.S. EPA denies 36 refinery biofuel waivers, biofuels industry responds

April 10, 2022 |

In Washington, D.C., Reuters reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has denied 36 petitions from oil refiners seeking exemptions to the nation’s biofuel blending laws for the 2018 compliance year, but will provide 31 of those refineries with another avenue to seek relief.

Reuters reports that the action will align the EPA with a 2020 court decision that narrowed the criteria for what facilities should be eligible for exemptions from the blending quotas. Former President Donald Trump’s EPA had granted more than 30 so-called Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) for the 2018 year, triggering a successful court challenge from the biofuel industry.

“The decision to deny these petitions is rooted in EPA’s commitment to follow the law and recent court decisions with respect to its legal authority on SRE petitions,” EPA spokesperson Nick Conger said.

Top farm and biofuel leaders responded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reverse 31 controversial small refinery exemptions (SREs) granted in August 2019 and expressed disappointment with EPA’s decision to allow refineries with previously-granted SREs to not have to take additional actions to meet their obligations under the RFS by blending more biofuel or purchasing additional Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).

Leaders at the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, Clean Fuels Alliance America, American Coalition for Ethanol, and National Farmers Union released the following statement on today’s decision from EPA:

“While today’s decision is an important step in reversing past abuse of refinery exemptions, the decision fails to remedy the economic harms the improperly granted 2018 SREs have already caused. Low-carbon biofuels are the single best tool to deliver immediate relief at the pump, strengthen U.S. energy security, and protect the climate. EPA’s move to hold refiners accountable to the law is a welcome step toward getting the RFS back on track that, when applied to pending and future SRE petitions, would improve certainty in the marketplace, and lead to more blending of American-made biofuels. However, EPA’s readiness to excuse individual refineries from their obligations to comply with 2018 blending requirements comes at the expense of our biofuels producers, farmers, and American consumers.”

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Category: Policy

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