EPA Grants 3 Refinery RFS Exemptions

Source: By Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporterʥ Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Agency Makes Decision on Evening Before New Administration Takes Over

OMAHA (DTN) — The Trump administration granted three pending requests for small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2018 and 2019 on Tuesday evening.

According to EPA’s RFS dashboard, the agency did not decide on the remaining 30 requests for 2019. In addition, EPA granted one additional request for 2018 and increased the total number of exemption requests from 14 to 15 for 2020.

The Renewable Fuels Association said in a statement Tuesday evening the group will challenge EPA’s decision.

“This midnight-hour attempt by the Trump administration to damage the Renewable Fuel Standard and sabotage the ethanol industry’s recovery from the COVID pandemic simply cannot be allowed to prevail,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said.

“With just hours remaining in his shameful term as EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler couldn’t stop himself from doling out a few more Clean Air Act compliance exemptions to his well-connected friends,” Cooper said. “But the fact remains that today’s action by EPA is completely without legal merit. It flouts both the statute and recent court decisions that clearly limit EPA’s authority and ability to grant these exemptions. And while this action comes as one last sucker punch from the Trump administration, we are confident it will be a hollow victory for the politically connected oil companies receiving today’s waivers, as the new Biden administration will most certainly act quickly to restore the volumes erased by these waivers.”

RFA said the two 2019 exemptions will amount to another 150 million gallons of lost renewable fuel demand. The 2018 exemption is expected to result in a loss of 110 million gallons of biofuel demand and was previously denied by the agency.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that the agency has illegally granted exemptions to three refiners in 2016. An appeal by refiners in that case will be heard by the Supreme Court.