NATSO Submits Formal Comments to EPA on RFS RIN Obligations

In comments filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on February 22, NATSO urged EPA not to shift the compliance requirements downstream from the refinery to the terminal rack.  Many merchant refiners have urged EPA to require wholesalers and retailers to purchase RINs under the RFS.  NATSO has strongly opposed this effort, arguing that the current approach has worked effectively and that changing the so-called "point of obligation" would amount to a government bailout for certain refiners that have not effectively positioned themselves to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). 
 
In addition to filing its own comments with EPA, NATSO has worked to establish a coalition of other fuel marketing groups, renewable fuel groups, integrated refiners, and end-users of fuel to oppose the policy shift.  "NATSO is heartened by the overwhelming number of stakeholders who are urging EPA to keep the RFS compliance with refiners, importers and manufacturers," said Lisa Mullings, CEO of NATSO.  "We urge the EPA not to shift compliance onto thousands of small business fuel retailers, which would inject massive disruption into fuels markets and raise fuel prices, ultimately harming the economy and hard-working Americans.
 
Under the RFS, refiners and importers are required to ensure that renewable fuels are integrated into the nation's fuel supply.  Recently, however, there has been a coordinated effort on the part of merchant refiners such as Valero to shift compliance responsibility under the RFS from refiners and importers to "rack sellers."  The EPA late in 2016 proposed to reject this approach; NATSO's filing on February 22 was in support of EPA's proposed rejection.
 
In addition to the fuel marketing community, the American Trucking Associations, Association of American Railroads, and many others filed comments with EPA opposing the shift.
 
It is uncertain when EPA will render a final decision on this issue, though it will certainly be one of the first controversial decisions that new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will make.
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David Fialkov

David Fialkov is the Vice President of Government Relations, as well as the Legislative and Regulatory Counsel, at NATSO. In this capacity, Mr. Fialkov direct's NATSO's legislative, regulatory, and legal strategy on a range of issues, including transportation, energy and fuels, labor, data security, and taxes. Mr. Fialkov also oversees NATSO's political engagement program, including individualized legal and political counsel to member companies. Prior to joining NATSO, Mr. Fialkov was the senior associate in the Government Affairs and Public Policy practice at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. At Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov advised clients on legislative, regulatory, and political issues, as well as legal concerns. His primary clients included trade associations representing the motor fuel wholesale and retail industries, including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. Mr. Fialkov's focus was not only on the motor fuels business, but also the litany of other issues that retailers confront, including labor matters, foodservice issues, healthcare and employment issues, tax matters and data security. Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He received his B.S. Summa cum laude with highest honors from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Allison and daughter Lilah. More
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