Governors write to EPA concerning small refinery exemptions

Source: By NebraskaTV • Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Four governors, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, wrote a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to express their concern over the agency’s willingness to consider 52 applications for retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs).

The other three governors include Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS caused a significant number of plants to partially or fully shut down,” the Governors wrote. “The resulting job losses, decreases in commodity purchases and prices, and shortages of co-products affect rural America every day. Your approval of these SRE ‘gap filings’ would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the renewable fuels industry and rural communities.”

According to the office of Governor Ricketts, oil refineries have repeatedly sought exemptions to avoid their obligations to use renewable fuels with their gasoline or purchase credits equal to the required amount of renewable fuel. Refiners must meet these obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Governor Ricketts office stated that since 2017, the EPA has granted 85 SREs. Some of these cases have been ruled by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to have been improperly granted by the EPA back in January. Despite these cases, the EPA continues to consider new waiver requests by small oil refineries.

Governor Ricketts office stated that the exemptions have created a depressed demand for ethanol and other biofuels by over four billion gallons. If the 52 pending applications are approved, the market would suffer another loss of two billion gallons of biofuel blending requirements.

The letter was also sent to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and White House advisors.