Despite refinery waivers, EPA won’t ramp up blending

Source: Marc Heller, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, June 18, 2018

EPA won’t ask big refineries to put more ethanol into fuel in order to make up for the biofuel blending waivers granted to small refiners, the agency said today.

Ethanol advocates ripped the agency, accusing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt of bending the law to fulfill his personal opposition to biofuel mandates.

“Administrator Pruitt is twisting the law beyond the breaking point for his anti-biofuel crusade,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, in a statement.

“You can’t seriously claim that enforcing the law is illegal while simultaneously handing out retroactive waivers to a few well-connected refinery owners,” Coleman said.

In declining to raise the blending at bigger plants, Pruitt said he didn’t have the authority to do so without direction from Congress, Reuters reported.

At issue are waivers granted to small refineries — sometimes owned by big, highly profitable companies — that say meeting the blending requirements is an economic hardship.

Pruitt has said the agency is required by law to grant waivers in those situations, regardless of the overall condition of the companies that own the refineries.

Some two dozen waivers granted by EPA have lowered total blending from a congressionally mandated 15 billion gallons to around 13 million gallons, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has complained.

Coleman, in his statement, said, “Farmers are not going to buy these excuses while the EPA drains their income.”