The Renewable Fuels Association today welcomed the official denial by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of 54 “gap-year” small refinery exemption petitions and thanked President Trump for taking an active role in helping to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In announcing its decision, EPA acknowledged that it would be completely inappropriate to grant a waiver to a refinery for a compliance obligation from many years ago, especially when the refinery had already fully complied with the obligation.
EPA also cited the Tenth Circuit Court’s decision from January as an important consideration in rejecting the waiver petitions. Importantly, EPA is applying these petition denials nationally. RFA led the litigation in the Tenth Circuit, while the National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and American Coalition for Ethanol were co-petitioners. Responding to today’s EPA announcement, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following statement:
“We are pleased to see EPA is officially denying 54 so-called ‘gap-year’ small refinery exemption petitions, and we look forward to EPA similarly denying the remaining 14 petitions once they are received from DOE. Rejecting the petitions is simply the right thing to do, and today’s decision marks a big step forward toward fully restoring integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard. This should serve as the final nail in the coffin of these gap-year petitions, and we are eager to put this dark and sordid chapter in the history of the RFS behind us once and for all.
“The petitions were never anything more than an absurd and bizarre attempt by the refineries to circumvent the Tenth Circuit Court’s decision in the Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA case. We wholeheartedly agree with EPA’s conclusion that ‘these small refineries did not demonstrate then or now that they experienced a disproportionate economic hardship from compliance with the RFS,’ as such a demonstration would be impossible for these refineries to make. EPA is correct that these refineries ‘do not warrant an exemption’ and we are pleased to see Administrator Wheeler acknowledge that Congress did not intend to exempt small refineries ‘that already successfully complied with their RFS obligations.’
“We sincerely thank President Trump for stepping in to prevent the oil industry from running roughshod over the RFS and ensuring that blending requirements are not further eroded by unwarranted exemptions. We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to the many members of Congress who led the fight against these illegitimate waivers. We thank them for their dedication to protecting and defending the RFS against baseless attacks.”