Small Refinery Exemption Clarification Act Introduced

Last week, Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN) and Randy Feenstra (R-IA) introduced the “Small Refinery Exemption Clarification Act of 2021.” The bipartisan legislation would clarify that only oil refineries that have been continuously receiving small refinery exemptions (SREs) since 2011 would be eligible to petition for extensions of renewable fuel blending requirement exemptions.

Reps. Craig and Feenstra introduced the bipartisan bill following the recent Supreme Court decision the Supreme Court ruled in HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC, et al., v. RFA, et al. to uphold the right of small refineries to request extension of economic hardship waivers after they lapse.

Biofuel proponents argued that the EPA did not have the authority to issue waiver extensions once the original underlying waiver expired. They hoped the Supreme Court would strictly limit the granting of small refinery waivers that mushroomed under the Trump administration, by narrowing the timeframe within which an extension request is valid.

The large number of small refinery waivers granted under the Trump administration effectively kept annual biofuel blending volumes stagnant, thus preventing E15 gasoline from making significant new inroads into retail markets outside the Midwest.

Now that the Supreme Court took the extension issue off the table, biofuel supporters are changing tactics and looking to a legislative solution. The bipartisan bill is supported by Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Farmers Union.

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