The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked a bipartisan group of 32 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for calling on President Trump to reject so-called “gap-year” refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“The Trump Administration has now heard from Members of the House, Senators and Governors on this important issue for rural America,” said RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Even the Environmental Protection Agency itself has noted there are significant ‘issues’ with these waivers, and we urge a speedy denial of these attempts by the oil industry to circumvent federal law and the recent court decision limiting waivers to extensions of ones previously received.”
The idea of retroactive refinery exemptions follows a recent decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that rejected a set of waivers granted by EPA that were not simple extensions of prior waivers. The lawsuit was brought against EPA by RFA, the National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and the American Coalition for Ethanol.
Seeking to circumvent this court decision, several refineries have now applied for retroactive waivers for years in which they did not originally request or receive waivers. On June 18, EPA disclosed that 52 new petitions had been received, covering the compliance years 2011 through 2018. In late May, RFA was the first to urge Wheeler to deny any gap-year waivers that came forward.
“The RFS has been a tremendous success, providing a critical value-added market for our farmers, lowering the price of fuel for consumers, and improving air quality across the nation,” the Members of the House wrote in today’s letter. “The EPA’s repeated efforts to undermine the RFS with waivers, SREs, and tepid annual volume requirements continue to undermine the future potential of our local farmers and biofuels producers.”