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Here’s How President-elect Biden Can Slash Carbon Emissions by 12 Million Metric Tons on Day One in Office

January 11, 2021

EPA, RFS, SRE, White House


On “Day One” in office, President-elect Biden’s incoming administration can immediately secure 10.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions simply by rejecting the 66 pending waiver requests from oil refiners who are looking to dodge their Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations. In addition, another 1.2 million metric tons of GHG reductions can be achieved by finally implementing a 2017 court order to restore renewable fuel blending requirements that were illegally waived by EPA in 2016. These findings come from a new analysis released today by the Renewable Fuels Association.


According to the RFA report, the GHG reductions associated with these actions would be equivalent to removing 2.6 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road, eliminating the annual emissions from three coal-fired power plants, or replacing 3.7 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles with battery electric vehicles.


“Not only have the Trump administration’s illegitimate refinery exemptions caused extensive economic harm to renewable fuel producers and farmers, but they have also led to increased GHG emissions and environmental damages. That needs to end now, and outgoing EPA officials should absolutely not—under any circumstances—issue any further waivers on their way out the door, lest they do even more damage to the environment and rural America’s economic health,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “By putting an immediate stop to these secretive oil refinery waivers, President-elect Biden and his incoming team have a rare opportunity to instantly secure significant GHG emissions reductions from the transportation sector on day one. Rejecting the exemption requests also would fulfill commitments made by President-elect Biden during the campaign, generating trust and goodwill in rural America.”


Cooper also pointed out that rejecting the waivers and enforcing the court’s 500-million-gallon remand would not require executive orders, rulemakings, or legislative action. “These are truly things that can be done immediately to safeguard the market for low-carbon renewable fuels and secure meaningful GHG reductions,” he said.


According to the RFA analysis, “When refiners are inappropriately released from their renewable fuel blending obligations, they supply more petroleum-based fuels—like gasoline and diesel—to the market in lieu of renewable fuels.” In turn, those exemptions “…lead to higher GHG emissions from the transportation sector than would have been the case if the exemptions had not been issued and the required volumes of renewable fuel had been used.”

RFA’s analysis is available here.


Ken Colombini