Citing the need for more certainty and stability in uncertain times, as well as the legal requirement to meet statutory deadlines, the Renewable Fuels Association today urged EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately address a number of unresolved issues related to the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“By disregarding statutory deadlines, flouting court decisions, and failing to make timely decisions, the Environmental Protection Agency is undermining predictability and confidence in the renewable fuels market and abetting longtime opponents of the RFS who perpetually seek the destabilize the program,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper in a letter to Wheeler. “Consequently, I write today imploring EPA to swiftly resolve a litany of unsettled RFS matters in a manner that is consistent with both the purpose of the Clean Air Act and the spirit of President Trump’s commitments.”
Cooper cited five areas where EPA decisions need to be made immediately:
- Adopting the Tenth Circuit Court decision on small refinery exemptions nationwide.
- Denying all 67 pending so-called “gap year” refinery waiver petitions (for compliance years 2011-2018).
- Deciding the 31 pending petitions for 2019 and 2020 SREs according to the Tenth Circuit Court criteria.
- Publishing the proposed rule for 2021 renewable volume obligations.
- Restoring the 500-million-gallon conventional renewable fuel volume that was illegally waived from the 2016 RFS requirements, as ordered by a federal court.
In the case of small refinery waiver requests, Cooper noted that the statute requires EPA to decide the petitions within 90 days of receiving them from the refiner. Combined, the 98 pending SRE petitions at EPA have the potential to erase another 4.6 billion gallons of RFS blending requirements, eclipsing the 4.0 billion gallons already lost as a result of the 85 SREs previously granted for the 2016-2018 compliance years.
Likewise, Cooper said, EPA is required by law to finalize the 2021 RVO by the end of November. In the past, Administrator Wheeler himself has stated meeting that deadline “provides greater regulatory certainty to farmers and refiners across the country” and “…is critically important to America’s farmers and all stakeholders impacted by the Renewable Fuel Standard program.”
“Mother nature, international trade disputes, and a global pandemic have created a perfect storm that is wreaking economic havoc across Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and countless other Midwest states,” Cooper concluded. “Today, more than ever, farmers need the certainty and stability that the RFS was intended to provide. … These actions will return integrity to the RFS and uphold the commitments of President Trump.”