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EPA Issuing Partial RFS "Hardship" Waivers for 2018 (Ind. Report)
EPA, RFS,American Coalition for Ethanol
Date: 2019-03-25
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will reportedly issue partial waivers to some of the 39 refiners asking for exemptions from the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The agency also notes it will keep granting partial waivers until the end of March and won’t retroactively reallocate those waived obligations.

According to the American Coalition for Ethanol the EPA's position is "disappointing and has caused a lot of ethanol demand destruction."

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, EPA, WNAX Radio, 25 Mar., 2019) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, Ron Lamberty, VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org.

More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  RFS,  Hardship Waivers,  Biofuel Blend,  


RFA Comments on New EPA Approved RFS "Hardhip Waivers" (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Renewable Fuels Association
Date: 2019-03-22
The EPA reports approval of five more 2017 Small Refiner "Hardship" Exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and noted that two more petitions have been received for 2018 exemptions, bringing the total to 39. Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following statement:

"It's extremely disappointing and outrageous to see EPA once again allow oil refiners to undermine the RFS and hurt family farms, ethanol producers and our environment by exploiting and abusing a statutory provision that exempts them from their obligations to blend renewable fuels. The RFS was created to preserve the environment, protect America's energy security and give Americans more affordable options at the pump. These exemptions undercut those goals, and today's exemptions mean more than 2.6 billion gallons of RFS blending obligations have been erased with the stroke of EPA's pen. RFA will continue to fight these exemptions through the courts and urge EPA to adopt a more judicious and restrained decision-making process on refiner exemptions, as well as restore lost volume obligations from previous years."

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance.(Source: Renewable Fuels Association, 21 Mar., 2019) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  EPA,  RFS Hardship Waiver,  Biofuel Blend,  


ABA Claims EPA Strayed on RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Reg & Leg)
EPA,Advanced Biofuels Association
Date: 2019-03-11
According to a brief filed by attorneys on behalf of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABA) in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit court in Washington last Wednesday, the US EPA broke away from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements for granting small-refinery waivers starting in May 2017 and continued to deny a congressional order regarding which refiners qualify.

The suit contends the EPA approved waivers for small refiners that didn't meet the minimum U.S. DOE score to qualify, and improperly considered the debts of small-refiners' parent companies when considering waiver requests. The brief also noted the agency considered small-refiners' operating losses whether or not they were related to RFS compliance. The agency also considered what small refiners might spend on biofuel credits, without looking at revenue the refiners would later generate from sales of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).

Accordingly, the ABA suit asked the court to declare the EPA's methodology for determining disproportionate economic hardship "unlawful" and to strike down the agency's economic "hardship" policy.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: ABA, DTN, 8 Mar., 2019) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Association ,  RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


Growth Energy Suing Over RFS "Hardship" Waivers (Reg & Leg)
Growth Energy
Date: 2019-02-15
Ethanol trade association Growth Energy, the ethanol trade association reports it has taken legal action challenging the US EPA's (EPA) "disingenuity" and "failure" to address small refinery "hardship" exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in its 2019 renewable volume obligation (RVO) rulemaking.

According to Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, the "EPA's inaction on addressing lost gallons due to small refinery exemptions in this rulemaking is a clear violation of law. In doing nothing to remedy these and other deficiencies, EPA has again failed to meet its statutory obligation to ensure that annual RVOs are met each year. Today's filing calls for greater accountability from EPA to ensure that every renewable fuel obligation is fulfilled as the law intended."

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Growth Energy, Various Media, Biofuels Int'l, 13 Feb., 2019) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  RFS Hardship Waiver,  RFS,  EPA,  


More RFS "Hardship" Waiver Applications Filed (Ind. Report)
RFS,Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2019-01-02
According to a recently released US EPA list of small-refinery "hardship" waivers filed under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), seven new applications for waivers have been filed for the 2018 compliance year. All of the waivers were filed between November 10 and December 18, 2018, when the EPA reported receipt of 22 waiver requests for the 2018 compliance year.

For 2017, EPA received a total of 37 small refinery "hardship waiver" petitions, 29 of which were approved, seven are still pending and one declared ineligible or withdrawn. The 29 approved petitions have exempted roughly 1.46 billion renewable identification numbers (RINs) keeping more than 13.6 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting the RFS blending targets.

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: US EPA, NAFB, 31 Dec., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RINs,  Hardship Waiver,  RFS,  US DOE,  


EPA Waivers Costly for Ethanol Ind., says Study (Ind Report)
EPA "Hardship Waivers"
Date: 2019-01-02
According to a recently released University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) study, the US EPA's small refinery "hardship" waivers of their obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) could cost the ethanol industry nearly $20 billion annually.

The study concludes that the small refinery waivers could account for as many as 4.6 billion gallons of domestic demand lost over the next six years, along with the hit to revenue. Conventional biofuel such as corn ethanol stands to fall in use, along with consumption of ethanol in flex fuels and mid-level blends, and wholesale ethanol prices could slip as much as 19 cents per gallon on average. The study also notes that U.S. ethanol consumption stands to drop 761 million gpy on average between 2018 and 2023 with a resulting decline in gross ethanol sales revenues, with an average of $3.3 billion lost per year. (Source: University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, Transportation Today, 2018) Contact: University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, (573) 884-4688, www.fapri.missouri.edu

More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  "Hardship Waiver",  Ethanol Biofuel,  


ExxonMobil Awarded RFS "Hardship Waiver" (Ind. Report)
Exxon Mobil,Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2018-12-21
Reuters is reporting the oil juggernaut ExxonMobil, with more than $19 billion in net income for 2017, has been granted a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) "financial hardship waiver" from the EPA for its 60,000 bpd Billings Refinery in Montana.

ExxonMobil's poor cousin Chevron, with a net 2017 income of only $9.2 billion, also scored a "hardship waiver" for its refinery in Utah on the grounds that without the waiver its refineries would be "at disadvantage in this competitive market."

Under the RFS, oil refiners must increasingly blend ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel each year or purchase blending credits from those that do. The 2005 regulation was intended to help farmers and to cut fuel imports. But small oil refineries can be exempted from the standard if they prove compliance would cause disproportionate hardship. The EPA granted 29 waivers for the 2017 compliance year, up from 14 in 2015 and 20 in 2016. (Source: ExxonMobil, OilPrice, Reuters, 20 Dec., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil,  RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


8 New RFS "Hardship" Waiver Applications Since 10 Nov. (Ind. Report)
RFS
Date: 2018-12-21
In Washington, the US EPA is reporting receipt of seven new Renewable Fuel Standard “hardship” waiver petitions for the 2018 compliance year and one new petition for the 2017 compliance year as of Nov. 10 , 2018

For the 2017 compliance year, the EPA has received 37 small refinery petitions, up from the 36 it had received as of Nov. 10. Twenty-nine of the 37 petitions have been approved , 7 ar pending and 1 was withdrawn. The 29 approved petitions exempted 13.62 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting the RFS blending targets.

Under the RFS, oil refiners must increasingly blend ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel each year or purchase blending credits from those that do. The 2005 regulation was intended to help farmers and to cut fuel imports. But small oil refineries can be exempted from the standard if they prove compliance would cause disproportionate hardship. The EPA granted 29 waivers for the 2017 compliance year, up from 14 in 2015 and 20 in 2016. (Source: EPA, Dec. 20, 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Hardship Waiver,  Biofuel Blending,  


Renewable Fuels Standard "Hardship" Waivers on Hold (Reg & Leg)
Renewable Fuels Standard
Date: 2018-11-30
It is being widely reported that the Trump Administration is reconsidering and temporarily frozen Renewable Fuels Standard "hardship" waivers exempting small oil refineries from biofuel blending requirements.

Under the RFS, oil refiners must increasingly blend ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel each year or purchase blending credits from those that do. The 2005 regulation was intended to help farmers and to cut fuel imports. But small oil refineries can be exempted from the standard if they prove compliance would cause disproportionate hardship. The EPA granted 29 waivers for the 2017 compliance year, up from 14 in 2015 and 20 in 2016. (Source: Various Media, 28 Nov., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Standard,  Hardship Waiver,  Ethanol,  Biofuel Blend,  


EPA Updates RFS "Hardship" Waiver Applications (Ind. Report)
EPA,RFS
Date: 2018-11-21
On Nov. 16, the U.S. EPA released updated data on small refinery "hardship" waivers filed under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) showing that no new petitions were filed or approved between Oct. 10 and Nov. 10. As of Nov. 10, the EPA has received 15 petitions seeking small refinery "hardship" waivers for the 2018 compliance year. All 15 petitions are still pending.

For the 2017 compliance year, EPA received 36 small refinery petitions, 29 of which were approved and 7 are still pending. The 29 petitions approved to date have exempted approximately 1.46 billion renewable identification numbers (RINs), or approximately 13.62 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting the RFS blending targets.

For compliance year 2016, the EPA received 20 small refinery petitions, with 19 approved to date and one still pending. The 19 approved petitions have exempted approximately 790 RINs, or 7.84 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting RFS blending targets.

The EPA is expected to update data on small refinery hardship waivers monthly, with the next updated expected to be released in mid-December.

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: US EPA, 16 Nov., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  ,  


Biofuel Group Seeks RFS "Hardship Waivers" Freeze (Ind. Report)
Producers United,
Date: 2018-11-16
Reuters is reporting Producers United, a group of unidentified biofuel companies, has asked a federal judge to force the U.S. EPA Agency to stop granting "hardship waivers" exempting small refineries from Renewable Fuel Standard regulations until a lawsuit challenging the agency's actions is resolved.

The group claims the EPA almost secretly and illegally issued retroactive biofuel credits to HollyFrontier and Sinclair Oil this year, although not required to do so as part of a legal settlement. HollyFrontier received nearly $34 million worth of credits for this year to reverse denial of a waiver for one of its Wyoming plants dating back to 2015. Sinclair scored waivers for two facilities in the same state for 2014 and 2015.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: CNBC, Variuos Media, Reuters, 14 Nov., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


Ethanol Players Tell Trump Ethanol Industry Needs Help (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)

Date: 2018-09-14
The Renewable Fuels Association and other agriculture and ethanol groups on Wednesday appealed to President Donald Trump to immediately approve year-round sales of E15 and to reallocate Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) small-refinery waivers to larger refiners as originally intended under the RFS.

In a joint letter, the groups stress that small-refinery waivers have given refiners "exactly what they asked for: artificially low RIN (renewable identification numbers) credit prices and weaker biofuel blending requirements." Ethanol RIN prices have been trading between 20 and 30 cents since May as a result of the waivers, or a decrease of about 80 pct since last fall, the groups said.

Read the letter HERE. (Source: RFA, DTN/Progressive Farmer , Others, 12 Sept., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  "Hardship Waiver",  RFS,  


Notable Quote -- RFS "Hardship" Waivers Hurting Ethanol Demand
EPA,National Farmers Union
Date: 2018-09-12
"The farmers are the ones at the end of the day who are really not the winners in all of this, and it's very contrary to what the president and this administration has said that they support. They have talked extensively about supporting farmers but the actions from this EPA about the small refinery exemptions have not been supportive."

"We're obviously at a time right now where we're very concerned about our lack of export markets and so it's really important that this administration continues to support farmers, continue to support the renewable fuels industry by the Renewable Fuel Standard." -- Anne Steckel, Biofuels Advisor with the National Farmers Union, speaking on the US EPA RFS "Hardship" waivers for refiners.

According to EPA data, nearly 50 waivers were granted in 2016 and 2017, wiping out 2.2 billion gallons of blending obligations. "Hardship waivers" were intended for refineries that produced 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Public News Service, 14 Aug., 2018) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, https://nfu.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA "Hardship Waiver" news,  RFA news,  NFU news,  


Study says EPA Waivers Could Cost Ethanol Ind. $20 bln (Ind Report)
EPA
Date: 2018-09-12
According to a recently released University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) study, the US EPA's small refinery "hardship" waivers of their obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) could cost the ethanol industry nearly $20 billion annually.

The study concludes that the small refinery waivers could account for as many as 4.6 billion gallons of domestic demand lost over the next six years, along with the hit to revenue. Conventional biofuel such as corn ethanol stands to fall in use, along with consumption of ethanol in flex fuels and mid-level blends, and wholesale ethanol prices could slip as much as 19 cents per gallon on average.

The study also found that U.S. ethanol consumption stands to drop 761 million gpy on average between 2018 and 2023 with a resulting decline in gross ethanol sales revenues, with an average of $3.3 billion lost per year.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, Transportation Today, 11 Sept., 2018) Contact: University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, (573) 884-4688, www.fapri.missouri.edu

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Hardship Waiver,  RFS,  EPA,  Ethanol,  EPA Hardship Waivers,  


AFBF Comments on Biofuels Volumes, Small Refinery Hardship Waivers (Opinions, editorials & Asides)
American Farm Bureau Federation
Date: 2018-08-27
"Though pleased with EPA's proposal to increase renewable fuel volumes, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) warned that the agency's excessive use of small refinery "hardship" waivers diminishes the likelihood that volume targets will be met.

"EPA's excessive use (of small refinery waivers) will undermine the goals that were set by Congress to create a more robust renewable fuels industry and greater energy independence. EPA's actions could result in an estimated 1.5 billion gallons of lost demand for renewable fuels," the AFBF said.

"EPA's proposed renewable fuels volume standards for 2019 would maintain the statutory requirement for conventional renewable fuel at 15 billion gallons, increase cellulosic fuels to 381 million gallons and bump up total advanced biofuels to 4.88 billion gallons. It would also increase the biomass-based diesel volume to 2.43 billion gallons for 2020.

"The AFBF touted the Renewable Fuel Standard's many successes, including the growth it spurred within the agriculture sector as corn and soybean farmers expanded their crop production to meet growing demand for corn- and soybean-based biofuels.

"Beyond the boost to the agricultural economy, the RFS2 is intended to spur investment in cleaner, domestic fuels; give consumers more choices at the pump; lower gas prices; and boost the country's energy security. But EPA has allowed dozens of oil refineries off the hook from their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel fuel, which is jeopardizing this progress, according to Farm Bureau.

"Given the accomplishments of the RFS program to date, EPA's excessive and unreasonable use of the small refinery waiver dampens the prospects for reduced emissions and increased energy security," the organization cautioned.

"AFBF also addressed the RIN market as it relates to the current RFS2 program, noting that RINS are functioning properly and providing incentives for refiners to offer higher blends of ethanol in the market at prices that are increasingly competitive with conventional gasoline. A RIN is a serial number assigned to a batch of biofuel for the purpose of tracking its production, use and trading.

"In addition, the organization emphasized that the petroleum industry's unwillingness to offer higher blends of biofuels should not be taken as evidence that the RFS2 is unworkable. Rather, it is evidence that they are unwilling to adapt to policies enunciated by Congress. But making space in the market for alternative fuels that contribute to energy independence, environmental improvement, and economic development is exactly the point of RFS2." (Source: American Farm Bureau Federation, FBNews, 21 Aug., 2018) Contact: American Farm Bureau Federation, Sarah Brown Dirkes, Exec. Director, Industry Relations, (202) 406-3684, sarahd@fb.org, www.fb.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  EPA,  


Notable Quote -- RFS "Hardship" Waivers Hurting Ethanol Demand
National Farmers Union
Date: 2018-08-17
"The farmers are the ones at the end of the day who are really not the winners in all of this, and it's very contrary to what the president and this administration has said that they support. They have talked extensively about supporting farmers but the actions from this EPA about the small refinery exemptions have not been supportive."

"We're obviously at a time right now where we're very concerned about our lack of export markets and so it's really important that this administration continues to support farmers, continue to support the renewable fuels industry by the Renewable Fuel Standard." -- Anne Steckel, Biofuels Advisor with the National Farmers Union, speaking on the US EPA RFS "Hardship" waivers for refiners.

Farmers nationwide say the EPA is undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and hurting farmers by granting too many "hardship" exemptions for small oil refineries. According to EPA data, nearly 50 waivers were granted in 2016 and 2017, wiping out 2.2 billion gallons of blending obligations.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Public News Service, 14 Aug., 2018) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, https://nfu.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  RFS,  RFS Hardship Waiver,  National Farmers Union,  


RFA Seeks Court Action to Set RFS Back on Track (Ind. Report)
Renewable Fuels Association ,Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2018-08-06
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) reports it is taking legal action to challenge the EPA's abuse in issuing small refiner "hardship" waivers from the RFS. According to RFA Executive VP Geoff Cooper, the excessive number of waivers have cut into the demand biofuel and that the surplus of RINS has led to lower costs for refiners who then do not blend as much ethanol as they could and should. Court action is expected to get underway within the next few months.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: RFS, WNAX Radio, 2 Aug., 2018)Contact: RFA, Bob Dinneen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS Waivers,  Renewable Fuels Association,  Renewable Fuel Standard ,  


Ergon Wrongfully Denied RFS Hardship Relief, Appeals Court Rules (Reg & Leg)
Ergon
Date: 2018-07-20
In a recent release, Newell, West Firginia-based Ergon - West Virginia, Inc reports the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has vacated and remanded the EPA's denial of a 2016 petition for a small refinery "hardship waiver" filed by Ergon - West Virginia, Inc., (EWV) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Family-owned EWV owns and operates a 23,000 bpd specialty paraffinic refinery that produces paraffinic base oils, paraffinic bright stocks, waxes, petrolatum, petroleum resins, E10 gasoline and ultra low sulfur diesel.

According to the press release, "EWV blends 10 pct ethanol with 99 pct of the gasoline it produces and will continue to do so, even without a mandate. However, EWV cannot pass through its RIN costs and the detrimental impact imposed by the RFS on EWV's high diesel production is unacceptable and counter to the intent of the RFS program."

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance (Source: Ergon West Virginia, PR, Contact: Ergon West Virginia, Inc., Kirk Latson, VP Fuels Marketing, Kathy Potts, Communications & Marketing, (601) 933-3000, kathy.potts@ergon.com, www.ergon.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  EPA,  


Iowa Gov. Comments on RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynols
Date: 2018-07-20
"Our (Iowa) farmers need some positive news. It's our hope new EPA leadership will adhere to promises made by President Trump to protect the RFS and grow demand for our homegrown fuels. It's time to end the domestic demand destruction by undermining of the RFS. It's time to open up the market for higher ethanol blends, E15 and above, to be sold year round. Unfortunately, the proposed RFS rule before us does neither of those things.

"On the surface, the numbers appear positive. Conventional biofuels like corn ethanol are set at 15 billion gallons and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel and total advanced levels are all proposed to increase. But the EPA's decision to grant numerous small-refinery waivers and to not reallocate those volumes as the law envisioned, undercuts the 15 billion gallon level.

"These small refinery waivers have created the backdoor destruction of 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol demand. That means 500 million bushels of corn will be left in the bins, putting added pressure on already low commodity prices. Every RFS category is reduced by these small refiner waiver exemptions. In fact, it almost wipes out the proposed increase for advanced biofuels.

"And the 15 billion gallons ethanol number is in reality more like 13.5 billion. To put that in context, nearly 1 billion gallons less ethanol than was blended into U.S. gasoline in 2017. That is not progress. That is not the letter or spirit of the RFS. And that is not what President Trump promised the voters of Iowa. This issue must be addressed. The criteria for exemptions must be reasonable and transparent, and any exemptions must be reallocated to the remaining obligated parties. Correcting the small refinery exemption excesses need to be in the final rule. 15 billion gallons must mean 15 billion gallons.

"The former head )Pruitt) of the EPA often said that the decision to allow year-round sales of E15 was a matter of authority, not policy. The EPA has publicly acknowledged it has the authority, so it's time to act. It's also time for the EPA to stop ignoring a court order to restore 500 million gallons of conventional ethanol demand that was illegally waived by the Obama Administration for the 2016 compliance year." (Source: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), 18 July, 2018) Contact: Office of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, https://governor.iowa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  RFS,  Ethanol Blend,  Hardship Waiver,  E15,  


ACE Testifies on Proposed 2019 RVOs (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
American Coalition for Ethanol
Date: 2018-07-20
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) VP Ron Lamberty testified on July 18 during the public hearing in Ypsilanti, Mich., on the EPA's proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

"With the departure of the previous EPA Administrator (Pruitt) , I hope EPA will take this opportunity to return to implementing the RFS as intended by Congress. Pruitt's seemingly sole focus on helping merchant refiners ignore or skirt their longstanding obligations under the RFS has further shaken the rural farm economy while undermining Congress' goal of increasing renewable fuel use in the United States.

"EPA's misapplication of the small refiner (hardship) waiver authority has destroyed an estimated 2.25 billion gallons of biofuel demand in 2016 and 2017 alone. The 2019 proposal does nothing to reallocate the gallons of ethanol lost due to RFS waivers, nor does it restore the 500 million gallons of biofuel demand lost because of EPA's actions in misapplying the economic harm waiver in the 2016 RVO as determined by the courts that ordered EPA to return those gallons as well. This RVO rulemaking is the perfect place for EPA to restore these biofuel volumes under the RFS, allow for E15 and higher blends to be sold year-round, and discard of its refiner win-at-all-costs mentality."

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance.(Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, Convenience Store Decisions, 19 July, 2018) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, Ron Lamberty, VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  RFS,  Pruitt,  HJardship Waiver,  


EPA Plan to Force Refiners to Blend More Biofuels Nixed (Ind. Report)
EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2018-07-13
Reuters is reporting the US EPA as abandoned plans that would have forced refiners to blend more biofuels into their gasoline and diesel in 2019 to compensate for volumes likely to be exempted under the agency's small refinery hardship waiver program, according to newly released EPA documents.

The plan would have boosted the renewable fuel blending obligation from 10.88 pct to 11.76 pct to offset volumes lost under the waiver program, which has been expanded sharply under Scott Pruitt's tenure at the EPA.

The idea was apparently aimed at assuaging the U.S. corn lobby which has accused Trump's EPA of undermining the demand for biofuels like corn-based ethanol through the waiver program, but was scrapped amid intense protest from the refining industry, according to the Reuters report.

The "hardship" exemptions representing some 2.25 million gallons worth of biofuel were granted for 2017 and 2016, including waivers covering 1.46 million compliance credits (RINS). The EPA projected some 8.18 billion gallons of gasoline and 5.44 billion gallons of diesel produced by small refiners would be exempt from the requirements in 2019, according to the EPA.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: EPA, Manitoba Co-oporator, Various Media, Reuters, 12 July, 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend,  RFS,  Pruitt,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


TOTAL TX Refinery Considered RFS "Hardship Waiver" (Ind. Report)
TOTAL
Date: 2018-06-29
Paris-headquartered French oil and natural gas giant TOTAL, the fourth-largest oil company in the world, CEO Patrick Pouyanne reportedly contemplated asking the US EPA for a Renewable fuel standard "hardship" waiver exempting a refiney it owns in Texas from having to blend ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply. The company's legal team, however, reportedly replied to Pouyanne's suggestion with an emphatic "No. Our refinery is too big," according to Pouyanne.

As previously reported, "hardship" waivers were intended for small refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and those that suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: TOTAL, Various Media, Washington Post, June 25, 2018) Contact: TOTAL, www.total.com/en

More Low-Carbon Energy News TOTAL,  RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  Biofuel Blend,  


NATSO Testifies on RFS Hardship Waivers (Ind. Report)
NATSO
Date: 2018-06-27
In Alexandria, a Chicago-area travel center executive testifying on behalf of the National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO) told a House panel that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is successfully incentivizing travel centers to incorporate advanced biofuels such as biodiesel into their fuel supply, but also warned that the EPA's recent practice of exempting certain refiners from their renewable fuels obligations undermines the law's intent and decreases demand for biofuels.

The Annual renewable fuel volume obligations established under the RFS are designed to create market certainty and encourage fuel retailers to invest in the infrastructure necessary to incorporate and sell biodiesel. The executive testified that the EPA's recent granting of an unprecedented number of retroactive "hardship" exemptions to refineries has functioned as de facto mandate cuts in the biofuel volume obligations. Retroactively issued waivers create market uncertainty, ultimately diminishing the value of the biodiesel investments that Congress encouraged fuel retailers to make when it developed the RFS.

"It is imperative that EPA immediately re-evaluate its criteria for issuing the small refinery waivers. Going forward, I would hope that EPA act in a manner that is more consistent with the RFS by requiring all waiver requests be received and assessed prior to finalizing biofuel mandates for a given compliance year."

NATSO is the trade association of America's travel plaza and truckstop industry. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate. (Source: NATSO, PR, June, 2018) Contact: NATSO, Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman, (703) 739-8578, twlazlowski@natso.com, www.natso.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News NATSO,  RFS,  Biodiesel,  RFS,  RFS Hardship Waiver,  


Notable Quotes and Worth Noting
RFS
Date: 2018-06-25
"Pruitt needs to understand that his actions to continue to grant (RFS "hardship") waivers, now retroactively, to oil refineries is undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard -- a program that Administrator Pruitt told Congress he was committed to upholding." -- Sen. Joni Ernst, (Iowa-R) Contact: Senator Joni Ernst, (2020 724-3264, https://contactsenators.com/iowa/joni-ernst

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


EPA Stalls Biofuel Blend Quota Announcement (Ind. Report)
EPA
Date: 2018-06-25
Bloomberg and others are reporting oil industry criticism has caused the Trump Administration to reconsider a proposal to require large refineries to blend more biofuel to make up for "hardship" exemptions granted to smaller refineries. Accordingly, the EPA has put a planned announcement on proposed biofuel quotas for 2019 on hold.

Ethanol producers and farm-state lawmakers say that recent waivers granted to small refiners have undercut the Renewable Fuels Standard. The Trump administration's plan to make up for the lost biofuel gallons would have put the burden on non-exempted refineries, prompting an outcry from the two top oil industry trade groups.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Various Media, Bloomberg, HoosierAg Today, 24 June, 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Ethanol Blend,  Pruitt,  


Notable Quotes
RFA
Date: 2018-06-22
"(The) EPA is trying to undermine the RFS program under the cover of night. And there's a reason it has been done in secret -- it's because EPA is acting in contravention of the statute and its own regulations, methodically destroying the demand for renewable fuel." -- RFA Pres. Bob Dineen discussing the EPA's recent granting of numerous RFS "hardship" waivers. Contact: RFA, Bob Dineen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard news,  Hardship Waiver news,  RFA news,  


Will EPA Waived RFS Biofuels Volumes be Reallocated? (Ind. Report)
EPA,RFS
Date: 2018-06-22
Reuters is reporting the U.S. EPA will propose reallocating Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel blending obligations waived under its "hardship" exemption program to other refiners. The move would significantly increase the regulatory costs of those refineries that do not qualify for, or have not received, a waiver.

As previously reported, "hardship" waivers were intended for small refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and thos that suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: WSAU, Reuters, 20 June, 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  EPA,  Hardship waiver,  Hardship Exemption,  


Notable Quote
RFS
Date: 2018-06-04
"Pruitt needs to understand that his actions to continue to grant (RFS "hardship") waivers, now retroactively, to oil refineries is undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard -- a program that Administrator Pruitt told Congress he was committed to upholding." -- Sen. Joni Ernst, (Iowa-R)

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing less than 75,000 bpd and suffering "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Contact: Senator Joni Ernst, (2020 724-3264, https://contactsenators.com/iowa/joni-ernst

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  Pruitt,  


EPA, Pruitt Challenged on RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Reg & Leg)
RFA,National Corn Growers Association
Date: 2018-06-01
Last Wednesday in Denver, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and the National Farmers Union, brought suit in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals against the US EPA challenging several supposed "hardship waivers" the agency "secretly" issued to profitable refining companies.

in their action, the plaintiffs claim the federal agency, led by the increasingly controversial Trump appointee Scot Pruitt, awarded the waivers to two refineries owned by HollyFrontier Corp. and the Wynnewood Refining Co., a subsidiary of Carl Icahn's CVR Refining, without publishing the actions in the Federal Register and that the refineries were profitable and did not qualify for the waivers.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Various Media, NewsOK, 31 May, 2018)Contact: RFA, Bob Dinneen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org; National Corn Growers Association, Kevin Skunes, Pres., (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Hardship Waiver,  National Corn Growers Association,  RFA,  EPA Scott Pruitt,  RFS,  


Notable Quotes
RFS,EPA
Date: 2018-05-30
"(The) EPA is trying to undermine the RFS program under the cover of night. And there's a reason it has been done in secret -- it's because EPA is acting in contravention of the statute and its own regulations, methodically destroying the demand for renewable fuel." -- RFA Pres. Bob Dineen discussing the EPA's recent granting of numerous RFS "hardship" waivers.

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing less than 75,000 bpd and suffering "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Contact: RFA, Bob Dineen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  Bob Dineen,  RFA,  


Duly Noted
Advanced Biofuels Business Council
Date: 2018-05-28
According to Advanced Biofuels Business Council Exec. Director Brooke Coleman, "EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is going against the President's commitment to rural America. If the EPA head keeps granting hardship waivers to the many refiners who have requested them, then the President's commitment to year-round use of E15 will be rendered useless. It's ridiculous for the EPA administrator to claim he's following the intent of the RFS and the President's commitment to it while at the same time granting those waivers."

Coleman says the RFS renewable fuel obligation rule for 2019 is expected out soon but if the waivers keep getting granted, then the numbers called for in that rule don't mean anything because refiners aren't held accountable to them. (Source: Advanced Biofuels Business Council, May, 2018) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Brooke Coleman, Exec. Dir., www.advancedbiofuels.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Business Council ,  EPA,  Pruitt,  RFS,  


Marathon Petroleum Requests EPA , RFS Biofuel Waiver (Ind. Report)
Marathon Petroleum
Date: 2018-05-23
Reuters is reporting that Findlay, Ohio-headquartered Marathon Petroleum last year asked the EPA for a hardship waiver exempting one of its refineries from U.S. Biofuels RFS legislation. The Reuters report did not identify the individual facility, or the portion of a facility, the waiver would cover or if the waiver was granted.

Marathon's smallest refinery is a 93,000 bpd facility in Canton, Ohio. As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Reuters, Seeking Alpha, 23 May, 2018) Contact: Marathon Petroleum, Corporate, (419)421-3070, (419) 425-7040, www.marathonpetroleum.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


NFU Comments on White House Renewable Fuel Standard Meeting (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2018-05-11
In Washington, following Wednesday's White House meeting on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and future of the biofuel industry, the National Farmers Union (NFU) issued the following comments:

"While there are certainly positives coming out of this meeting, there are several major potential pitfalls that will need to be mitigated as the administration sets out to implement these policies.

"(The) Farmers Union supports the administration's promises to make E-15 available for year-round use, yet it is absolutely essential we move our transportation fuel market into higher blends of ethanol like E-30. We also appreciate that a cap will not be put on RIN prices, as this would disincentivise the blending of homegrown, renewable fuels in our transportation fuel sector.

"However, this agreement contains no offset for the dozens of hardship waivers that the administration has handed out to oil refiners. These have waived up to 1.6 billion gallons in RFS volume requirements, effectively destroying demand for the surplus of corn that is keeping farm prices low for farmers. The agreement also includes a particularly detrimental plan to assign RIN credits to biofuel exports, which would both devastate domestic demand for biofuels and likely provoke our trading partners into retaliation.

"We urge the (Trump) administration to immediately begin implementing a plan that expands use of higher blends of ethanol, as our nation's family farmers need to be rid of burdensome stocks to start earning a decent price from the market. The administration must also avoid any plan that includes RIN credits for biofuel exports and pursue actions that restore the demand for biofuels that was lost as a result of hardship waiver handouts."

The meeting concluded with an agreement to allow year-round use of E15 gasoline, a limit on RFS 'hardship waivers' being handed out to refiners, and the possibility that RIN credits could be applied to exports of renewable fuel. No cap on RIN prices, nor any offset for the hardship waivers that were handed out to large refiners were included in the agreement. (Source: National Farmers Union, The Pig Site, 10 May, 2018) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, https://nfu.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard ,  Biofuel,  Biodiesel,  E-15,  National Farmers Union,  


Andeavor Claims Major 2016-17 RFS Obligations Savings (Ind. Report)
Andeavor,Philadelphia Energy Solutions
Date: 2018-05-09
Following on our coverage of Philadelphia Energy Solutions bankruptcy, the company's owner, Andeavor, one of the largest U.S. refining companies has reported saving approximately $100 million over the past two years primarily due to a reduction in the RINs obligation for the 2016 and 2017 compliance periods for some of the company's inland refineries.

The Andeavor announcement late on Monday came after Reuters reported last month that the EPA granted the company a "financial hardship waiver" that freed its smallest refining facilities from the regulation. Andeavor recorded net profits of $1.4 billion in 2017.

Andeavor's EPA hardship exemptions freed the company's refineries in North Dakota, Utah and New Mexico from having to blend biofuels or purchase RINs for the 2016 compliance period. The company did not explicitly credit small refinery exemptions for the savings, according to the Reuters report. (Source: Andeavor, Reuters, 8 May, 2018) Contact: Andeavor, (210) 626-6000, www.andeavor.com; Philadelphia Energy Solutions, [endlink]www.pes-companies.com[endlink]

More Low-Carbon Energy News Andeavor,  RFS,  Philadelphia Energy Solutions,  


25 Refineries Exempted from RFS Obligations (Ind. Report)
RFS,ANdeavor
Date: 2018-04-06
Following up on the widely reported US EPA's granting Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) "extreme hardship" waivers to the recently bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES Solutions) refinery, it is interesting to note that of the total 141 operating gasoline refineries in the US (EIA Jan. 2017 data) 25 have received "extreme hardship" waivers, including 3 smaller unites of one of the nation's largest oil refining companies Andeavor -- fka Tesoro Corporation -- which reportedly earned net profits of about $1.5 billion in 2017, according to Reuters coverage. So where's the "extreme hardship"?

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing less than 75,000 bpd and suffering "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: WHTC Radio, Reuters, 3 April, 2018) Contact: Andeavor, (210) 626-6000, www.andeavor.com; Philadelphia Energy Solutions, www.pes-companies.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Andeavor,  RFS,  Philadelphia Energy Solutions,  Andeover,  


EPA Issues RFS "Extraordinary Hardship Waivers" (Reg & Leg)
Andeavor,RFS
Date: 2018-04-04
Following on the heels of the EPA's exempting bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) from compliance with U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard biofuels blending regulations, San Antonio-based Andeavor, one of the nation's largest oil refining companies, has reportedly been issued a similar "hardship waiver" for three of its 10 refineries. Andeavor -- fka Tesoro Corporation -- is reported to have earned net profits of about $1.5 billion in 2017, according to Reuters coverage.

As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: WHTC Radio, Reuters,3 April, 2018) Contact: Andeavor, (210) 626-6000, www.andeavor.com; Philadelphia Energy Solutions, www.pes-companies.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  RINs,  Biofuel Blend,  Point of Obligation,  Philadelphia Energy Solutions,  RFS,  EPA,  

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