Trump Administration Gives 11th Hour Biofuel Waivers to Refiners

Source: By Kim Chipman, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Trump administration granted three oil refineries exemptions from biofuel-blending requirements in a last-minute move, prompting quick rebuke from ethanol and biodiesel producers.

Two of the Environmental Protection Agency waivers apply to the 2019 mandate under the Renewable Fuel Standard, according data posted online. The agency also approved a previously denied 2018 exemption. Another 65 requests are pending, including 15 for 2020. The names of the refineries weren’t disclosed.

Biofuel advocates, including lawmakers, had pushed the Trump administration to hold off on approvals, with the U.S. Supreme Court set to hear arguments in a case testing EPA’s ability to grant them. The latest action puts added pressure on the incoming Biden White House to signal how it will proceed in the fight for share of U.S. gasoline tanks.

“This disappointing action further undermines the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard program by destroying demand for additional gallons of biofuel,” Kurt Kovarik, vice president for federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, said in a statement.