The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering changing its policy to allow it to identify those refiners seeking small refinery waivers that exempt them from their obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
According to a request for comment released by EPA on April 12, the agency is seeking public comment on whether it should disclose petitioners’ names, identify facilities and locations as well as describe the relief requested. Currently, most information about RFS waiver applicants is considered to be confidential.
NATSO, which plans to submit formal comments, thinks EPA needs a transparent process to guide its assessment of small refinery waiver requests to ensure that such exemptions don’t continue to undermine the law’s intent and decrease demand for biofuels.
EPA has the authority to grant waivers exempting small refineries — those producing less than 75,000 barrels of fuel per day — from their obligations under the RFS if they can prove that it would cause them an economic hardship.
Under the Trump Administration, an unprecedented number of exemptions have been granted, including to some of the nation’s biggest refineries.
Annual renewable fuel volume obligations established under the RFS are designed to create market certainty and encourage fuel retailers to invest in the infrastructure necessary to incorporate and sell biodiesel. Small refinery waivers fundamentally impact the entire intent of the RFS by lowering demand for biofuels and diminishing the value of the investments the industry has made in response to Congressional policy.
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