EPA to Announce Move on Small Refinery Waivers by March 9


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reportedly will announce its plans for responding to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated three small refinery waivers that exempt them from their obligations to acquire Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard by March 9, Bloomberg News reported.

March 9 is the deadline for EPA to request a rehearing by the 10th Circuit or seek a time extension. 

In January, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that EPA must reconsider three of the biofuel waivers it granted to small refineries, arguing the agency’s justification for approving the exemptions was flawed. 

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 the refineries can prove that acquiring RINs would cause them a substantial economic hardship. However, in recent years an unprecedented number of exemptions have been granted, including to some of the nation’s biggest refineries.

NATSO has long argued that these exemptions have been designed as a vehicle to lower RIN prices -- and thus incentives for blending biofuels -- rather than in response to actual economic hardships.

NATSO thinks that 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.

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