"Based on empirical evidence from SREs improperly granted in other compliance years, the new 2018-2019 SREs will likely have a sudden, negative impact on both ethanol sales volumes and prices. This would be devastating to America's ethanol producers, many of which are already on the brink of closure due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This action by EPA is completely without legal merit," RFA Pres. and CEO Geoff Cooper Noted:
"This midnight-hour attempt by the Trump administration to damage the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and sabotage the ethanol industry's recovery from the COVID pandemic simply cannot be allowed to prevail. With just hours remaining in his shameful term as EPA administrator, Wheeler couldn't stop himself from doling out a few more Clean Air Act compliance exemptions to his well-connected friends. But the fact remains that this action by EPA is completely without legal merit. It flouts both the statute and recent court decisions that clearly limit EPA's authority and ability to grant these exemptions. And while this action comes as one last sucker punch from the Trump administration, we are confident it will be a hollow victory for the politically connected oil companies receiving today's waivers, as the new Biden administration will most certainly act quickly to restore the volumes erased by these waivers," RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper said.
"Farm families and biofuel workers across the country have worked tirelessly to make a living over the past few months despite a global pandemic. And yet, the Trump administration's SRE abuse has piled on to the uncertainty and difficulty that rural Americans are facing every day," according to Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.
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: RFA, Growth Energy, AgriNews, 30January, 2021)
Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org; RFA, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol, Biofuel, Biofuel Blend, RFA, Growth Energy, RFS, "Hardship" Waivers, ,
EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the agency would not act on waiver requests for compliance years since 2019 until ongoing court challenges to prior decisions are settled.
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. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.
On Sept 18 we reported Trump had suggested he'd provide $300 million to oil refiners and that those funds would come out of the USDA Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) which is intended to provide farmers with Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. Trump later denied suggesting cash payments to refineries whose waiver applications had been rejected. (Source: EPA, Various Media, 19 Nov., 2020)
More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard, , Hardship Waiver, Biofuel Blending,
"We have extraordinary circumstances this year and we are looking at what relief we can provide everyone -- the ethanol industry is hurting as well." -- U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, 20 May, 2020
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS Waivers news, Andrew Wheeler news,
"My House colleagues and I have written President Trump twice recently, asking him to protect the RFS. This message is clear -- the EPA must follow the law and stop reducing the amount of renewable fuel in our fuel supply. Our farmers need this market. South Dakota's biofuels industry can produce more than 1 billion gallons annually, adding more than $980 million to the economy -- but this only happens if there is reliable market access. The EPA can get this done.
"The nation's eyes were on South Dakota during President Trump's visit to Mount Rushmore. I'll continue to deliver agriculture's request that the EPA support clear, homegrown biofuels. The president supports farmers -- and it's time the EPA does, too." -- South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson (R).
Editor's Note: 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. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Rep. Dusty Johnson , Mitchell Republic, 12 July, 2020)
Contact: Rep. Dusty Johnson , (202) 225-2801, www.dustyjohnson.house.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News US EPA, Andrew Wheeler, Renewable Fuel Standard, RFS Waiver,
In a letter to the EPA' Administrator Andrew Wheeler, NWF President and CEO Collin O'Mara echoed the requests of six state governors and stressed the need for smaller biofuel mandates. In its letter, the AFPM noted:
The NWF letter concludes: “"In short, the corn ethanol mandate has led to the loss of important wildlife habitat, particularly in regions critical for monarch butterflies, ducks and other ground-nesting birds, and many other species -- threatening outdoor recreation opportunities as well as the economy. The mandate has also resulted in deteriorated water quality and harmful algal blooms in important surface waters as a result of increased farm runoff. Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health. In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the Governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO." (Source: National Wildlife Federation, AFPM, Hydrocarbon Engineering, 7 July, 2020) Contact: National Wildlife Federation, Colin O'Mara, CEO, www.nwf.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, Renewable Fuel Standard, Ethanol,
"We have extraordinary circumstances this year and we are looking at what relief we can provide everyone -- the ethanol industry is hurting as well." --
U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, 20 May, 2020
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"EPA's consideration of small refinery exemption petitions going back to 2011 flies in the face of the recent 10th Circuit decision. By rolling back the clock, there appears to be no length EPA won't go to help refiners undermine the RFS. Make no mistake -- this handout to the oil industry comes at the expense of biodiesel producers and soybean farmers across the country, and particularly the Midwest. Allowing these gap filings renders the program completely unpredictable for renewable fuel producers. The agency must immediately reject these petitions to restore confidence that it will abide by the law in administering the RFS." NBB VP for Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik said.
NBB sent a June 1 letter to Administrator Wheeler saying, "EPA's first step upon receiving any petition for a small refinery exemption should be to evaluate its timeliness and validity before transmitting it to the Department of Energy." The letter makes the case that "gap" petitions or re-submissions of previously rejected petitions are inconsistent with the 10th Circuit's ruling. (Source: National Biodiesel Board, PR, NBB Website, 18 June, 2020) Contact: NBB, Kurt Kovarik, VP of Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.nbd.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board, RFS, RFS Waiver, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler ,
"We are writing to request further information about petitions reportedly received by the U.S. EPA from small refiners seeking exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years.
"The petitions in question were discussed during your testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on May 20, 2020. On the same day, U.S. DOE Under Secretary Mark Menezes confirmed that EPA is 'send[ing] over' past-year petitions for DOE review. Mr. Menezes described the petitions as 'gap filings' intended to reconstitute after-the-fact a continuous string of exemptions for select oil companies 'to be consistent with the Tenth Circuit decision.'
"This attempt to circumvent the courts and the RFS should be rejected out of hand. Even if EPA granted retroactive 'gap' exemptions without simultaneously returning the number of RINs associated with the exemption to the petitioner, such exemptions would be inconsistent with EPA's own policies and regulations, legal precedent, and Congressional intent.
"These 'gap filings' appear to be little more than the latest in a string of oil industry tactics designed to subvert the law and sidestep a court order to uphold the RFS.
Read the full letter HERE. (Source: Renewable Fuels Assoc., 9 June, 2020) Contact: RFA, www.fuelsamerica.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association, RFS Waiver, RFS, RFA, Ethanol, Ethanol Blend,
Since the pandemic's onset, the oil industry has asked for broad regulatory relief to help it survive sharply reduced global demand for fuel and to lower related costs.
(Source: US EPA, Reuters, 27 Mar., 2020) Contact: US EPA, Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epas-acting-administrator
More Low-Carbon Energy News US EPA, Andrew Wheeler, Renewable Fuel Standard,
"I'm disappointed the EPA chose to ignore the concerns voiced by renewable fuels producers, farmers and consumers. The flawed formula used to account for waived gallons creates unnecessary uncertainty in our markets, detrimental to so many across rural America. We must continue to work together to hold the EPA accountable for ensuring the 15 billion gallons mandated by the RFS are met. We must also continue to invest in infrastructure that builds demand and increases the availability of higher blends of biodiesel and ethanol across the state of Iowa."-- Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship administers the Iowa Renewable Fuel Infrastructure program, which offers cost-share grants to help fuel retailers install infrastructure to increase the availability of ethanol and biodiesel. To date, the program has distributed or obligated over $33 million with $200 million added in private economic activity. (Source: Iowa Department of Agriculture, High Plains Journal, 29 Dec. 2019) Contact: Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Mike Naig, Sec., 515-281-5321, www.iowaagriculture.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News ANdrew Wheeler, Renewable Volume Obligations, RVO, RFS, "Hardship" Waiver, Ethanol.Ethanol Blend, EIA,
"We request that you cease issuing any further small refinery exemptions, immediately reallocate the remaining gallons, and make public the information regarding any recipients of these exemptions
"We are extremely concerned about the EPA's recent actions to continue to improperly grant small refinery hardship waivers under the RFS. EPA's continued manipulation and misuse of the small refiner waiver authority is undermining the integrity of the RFS and disadvantaging farmers. Rather than follow congressional intent in the RFS and follow through on the promises made to rural America, the EPA and the (Trump) Administration are providing waivers, in secret, to help some of the largest oil companies and refiners evade their compliance obligations under the Clean Air Act.
The letter's signatories included Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
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: Farm Journal, Various Media, AgPro, 11 June, 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend, RFS, "Hardship Waivers" , Andrew Wheeler,