U.S. EPA gets 37 bids for small refinery waivers through mid-February

Source: By Jarrett Renshaw, Reuters • Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has received 37 applications for small refinery waivers for 2018 from the U.S. Renewable Standard (RFS) through mid-February, according to data released on Thursday by the agency.

The 37 applications matches the total the EPA received last year, when it approved waivers at small refineries owned by oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp.

None of the applications have been approved or rejected, according to the agency, which has until March 30 to rule on the applications.

The RFS requires refiners to blend increasing amounts of biofuels like corn-based ethanol into the fuel supply every year or buy compliance credits from competitors that do, a burden the refining industry says costs it hundreds of millions of dollars every year and threatens to put some refineries out of business.

The requests for exemptions have become a battleground between rivals in corn and oil industries after former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt greatly expanded the program, angering corn-belt farmers who say it hurts demand for ethanol and other biofuels.

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Tom Brown and Marguerita Choy