Less than a month after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted one of the nation's largest oil refiners an exemption from its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testitied before a House Committee that the agency received more than 50 waiver petitions for refineries to get out of their RFS requirements for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years.
EPA has been under fire for abusing the waivers to quietly undercut the RFS after the agency in early April exempted Andeavor, which posted net profits of $1.5 billion last year, from complying with the U.S. biofuels regulation.
EPA is only allowed to grant waivers for refineries producing less than 75,000 barrels per day that can demonstrate economic hardship, yet the agency exempted Andeavor, which is one of the nation’s largest oil refining companies. The exemption released the company of its obligation to provide EPA with the biofuels credits that show it has complied with the RFS.
Administrator Pruitt testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that EPA had received 24 applications for the exemptions for the 2016 compliance year and more than 30 applications for the 2017 compliance year.
NATSO, along with the American Petroleum Institute, oppose use of the exemptions, which undercut investments fuel marketers have made in renewable fuel infrastructure.
Just days before the hearing, a group of 13 Senators, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urged Administrator Pruitt to cease issuing the hardship waivers. They asked the agency to provide information about the waviers already issued and outline the agency's plan for making the waiver process more transparent.
“Recent reports indicate dozens of small refiner waivers have been secretly granted to large, multibillion-dollar companies under the guise of the small refinery hardship exemption provision in section 211(o)(9) of the Clean Air Act. This is extremely concerning to us,” the Senators wrote.
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