RFA to EPA: Stop the RFS Delays, Resist Oil Refiner Pressure

Source: By Ken Colombini, RFA • Posted: Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Renewable Fuels Association strongly urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to move forward on enforcing the Renewable Fuel Standard and reject proposals to again delay annual RFS compliance deadlines. On Friday, EPA held a public hearing on its proposal to extend compliance deadlines for renewable volume obligations for 2019 through 2021.

EPA argues that the compliance deadline extensions are necessary because dozens of 2019 and 2020 small refinery exemption petitions have not yet been decided, and proposed standards for 2021 have not yet been published.

“EPA has had ample time to decide pending 2019 and 2020 SRE petitions following the Supreme Court’s June 2021 decision in the HollyFrontier v. RFA case, which left intact two important holdings from the Tenth Circuit Court’s January 2020 decision in the RFA v. EPA case,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper in prepared testimony. “We strongly encourage EPA to immediately decide the remaining 2019 and 2020 SRE petitions in a manner consistent with the unappealed holdings of the Tenth Circuit decision. And immediately upon deciding those petitions, EPA should require compliance with the final 2019 and 2020 standards.”

RFA also urged EPA to resist pressure from the refining industry to retroactively reopen and revise the 2020 standards to account for the impact of COVID on fuel markets. Cooper pointed out that the RFS already includes flexibility and a self-adjusting mechanism to account for marketplace anomalies like COVID. “EPA’s RVO is a percentage-based standard that already accommodates fluctuations in the actual consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel,” he said. “No further adjustment to the 2020 RVO is necessary or legally permissible.”

Finally, Cooper urged EPA to take three steps to ensure stability for the fuel marketplace.

  1. Decide the pending 2019 and 2020 SRE petitions immediately, and ensure that those decisions comply with the requirements of the Tenth Circuit Court decision;
  2. Upon deciding those SRE petitions, immediately require compliance with the 2019 and 2020 standards; and
  3. Immediately issue the long-overdue proposals for 2021 and 2022 RVOs.

“RFA fully understands that the previous administration left the RFS program in disarray and failed to meet its deadlines for deciding SRE petitions and issuing RVOs,” Cooper said. “Mismanagement of the RFS program under the previous administration created significant turmoil and uncertainty in the marketplace and undermined the purpose and intent of the RFS. Extending the compliance deadlines again would only exacerbate the uncertainty and instability created by the past administration.”

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