Environmental Protection Agency issues order on biofuels refineries

Photo courtesy of Envato Elements

From staff reports

A final order has been issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that revokes small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuels Standard for 36 entities. They were originally granted the exemptions via the Trump administration. The Biden EPA cites the exemptions resulted in 1.4 billion gallons of biofuels that they produced being out of compliance. Of the 36 refiners, five have actually been excluded, as two were ineligible and three withdrew their petitions for the waivers. 

For the 31 remaining refiners, EPA will allow them to meet their 2018 RFS obligations “without purchasing or redeeming additional RFS credits,” according to the EPA. “Because of extenuating circumstances specific to the set of petitions.”

When a refiner is granted a waiver, it receives a Renewable Identification Number and there are limited RINS approved for the marketplace. Before this EPA order, the 31 entities could refile an application for the 2018 RFS requirement without having to purchase any new RIN credits. 

The 10th circuit court had ruled that the EPA may not deny an exemption to a SRE if it causes a hardship for them to comply with the RFS. EPA concluded that none of the 36 2018 SRE petitions demonstrated hardship caused by compliance with the RFS program,” the agency stated. EPA says it has reviewed data and public comments along with information submitted by each entity to come to that conclusion. 

 The EPA decision was made after a lengthy court process that started with a deadline to issue a ruling on the 2018 SRE’s, which was met yesterday. The court decision was made after the Biden EPA had been granted a court stay on the Trump EPA’s actions to approve the SRE’s. The court then put the decision back in the hands of EPA.

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