Trump Administration Punts Decision On Applications For Small Refinery Waivers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it is proposing to extend the compliance deadline for 2019 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) to November 30, 2021 as well as the 2020 deadlines to January 31, 2022, and June 1, 2022.

However, the EPA is unlikely to act on pending applications for small refinery exemptions from RFS blending mandates before the end of the Trump Administration.

The EPA is delaying action on granting small refinery exemptions for 2019 and 2020 biofuel-blending requirements due to ongoing litigation over the validity of such waivers.

The EPA decision came shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review an U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last year invalidating three small refinery exemptions.

The court of appeals ruled that the EPA improperly issued the exemptions retroactively to small refineries whose earlier temporary exemptions had already lapsed.

Since 2017, the retroactive small refinery exemptions have reduced renewable blending volumes by nearly 4 billion gallons, primarily corn ethanol. Review by the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to add volatility to the RINs market until a final ruling is handed down.

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