EPA Denies Dozens Of Refiners’ Biofuel Waiver Requests

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced last week the agency denied 54 biofuel exemption requests from refineries.

Refiners had requested that the EPA grant them biofuel exemptions going back to 2011 which would allow them to circumvent a January decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which said a refinery can receive new exemptions only if they have received them continuously since the program began.

Administrator Wheeler stated he denied the petitions based on advice he received from the Department of Energy (DOE).

The Trump Administration’s announcement was praised by corn interests and scorned by the oil interests.

AFPM President and CEO Chet Thompson said, “The notion that this Administration is ‘following the rule of law’ through its latest betrayal of US refinery workers is laughable. We hope the President and Administrator Wheeler feel a sense of responsibility when RFS compliance costs become even more untenable for refineries of all sizes.

“The legacy of this Administration’s handling of RFS will be fewer union refining jobs, facility closures, reduced US refining capacity, and increased imports of foreign biodiesel.

“Telling ethanol interests everything they want to hear in a press release is not going to increase the amount of ethanol that gasoline can absorb or do anything to help farmers and ethanol producers.

“EPA knows this. And now they need to answer how they plan to correct the 2020 RFS volumes artificially inflated because of small refinery exemptions that will no longer be granted and how they will protect consumers and US energy security by ensuring 2021 standards are achievable.”

In a statement, Wheeler said his “decision follows President Trump’s promise to promote domestic biofuel production, support our nation’s farmers, and in turn strengthens our energy independence.

At the EPA, we are delivering on that promise by following the rule-of-law and ensuring 15 billion gallons are blended into the nation’s fuel supply.”

President Trump has faced intense pressure from corn belt lawmakers like Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) who is in a tough race, in addition to his own tight race in Iowa.

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