The Clinton Campaign announced on Aug. 3 that it does not support replacing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with a national low-carbon fuel standard similar to what is in place in California. The statement came in response to a news story that Clinton had reached out to California Air Resources Board (CARB) officials to discuss whether a low-carbon fuel standard could be applied at a national level. The Clinton campaign said that this outreach was simply "part of the campaign's ongoing stakeholder outreach efforts." CARB chair Mary Nichols is considered to be on Clinton's short-list of potential EPA administrators.
In other RFS news, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) on Aug. 4 formally petitioned EPA to move the point of obligation under the RFS from the refinery gate to rack sellers, arguing that the current system is "exacerbating" RFS implementation and compliance issues and unfairly advantages certain fuel marketers.
NATSO strongly opposes this effort, as the policy shift AFPM is advocating would negatively affect all NATSO members, reducing competition at the rack and ultimately raising prices at the pump. In July, NATSO submitted detailed comments to EPA opposing this policy shift.
Valero Energy Corp., a member of AFPM, has been reaching out to NATSO members with which they do business and urging these members to send letters to EPA advocating that EPA change the definition of "obligated party" under the RFS. Although every NATSO member must make up its own mind about how to respond to this outreach, NATSO urges its members not to comply with this request.
On Aug. 1, the Renewable Fuels Association asked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate whether anyone is manipulating the RINs market as a way to drum up support for repealing the Renewable Fuels Standard.
"RINs are like any other commodity, subject to both rational and irrational market fluctuations," said NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Fialkov. "Although it's understandable that the ethanol community is frustrated by the high RIN prices we've seen in recent months, suggestions of market manipulation strike me as a political exercise more than anything else."
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