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EPA RFS Exemptions Update (Feb, Report Attached)
EPA, Renewable Fuels Standard
Date: 2022-02-23
Section 211 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and 40 CFR 80.1441 exempted small refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program through compliance year 2010. CAA section 211 authorized EPA to extend the exemption for two years. Beginning with the 2013 compliance year, small refineries may petition EPA annually for an exemption from their RFS obligations. EPA may grant the extension if it determines that the small refinery has demonstrated disproportionate economic hardship.

EPA's decision to grant an exemption has the effect of exempting the gasoline and diesel produced at the refinery from the percentage standards of 40 CFR 80.1405. The exempted refinery is not subject to the requirements of an obligated party for fuel produced during the compliance year for which the exemption has been granted.

EPA intends to coordinate the timing of future small refinery exemption decisions and updates to this RFS data website such that refineries receiving exemptions and other interested parties receive the same RIN market information at the same time.

Download RFS Small Refinery Exemptions Feb 17 update HERE . (Source: US EPA, 17 Feb., 2022) Contact: EPA Fuels Program, 800-385-6164, FuelsProgramSupport@epa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Renewable Fuels Standard ,  


Biofuel Groups Comment on EPA RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy
Date: 2022-01-07
In comments on the US EPA's proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO), Growth Energy noted the propsal would "undercut blending requirements for biofuel in 2021 and retroactively waive 2.96 billion gallons from 2020 RVOs finalized almost two years ago." Under the proposal, 2022 volumes return to statutory levels, and the administration pledges to deny all improper small refinery exemption applications. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor commented that the proposal "sets an extremely troubling precedent of revising finalized volumes for 2020 and back-setting volumes for 2021 rather than driving growth in renewable fuels."

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Chris Edgington said corn farmers produce low-carbon ethanol that offers immediate emissions reductions allowing agriculture to help address climate change. Edington noted, "Our success helping you meet these commitments depends on EPA sending a clear and firm message that volume requirements will be enforced." (Source: Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network, Jan., 2022) Contact: National Corn Growers Association, NCGA, www.ncga.com; Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Growth Energy,  National Corn Growers Association,  


Growth Energy Threatens Action Over EPA RFS Inaction (Ind. Report)
Growth Energy
Date: 2021-11-05
Growth Energy is reporting its Nov. 2 submission of a "notice of intent to sue" to the U.S. EPA regarding its failure to timely fulfill the agency's statutory obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to issue the 2022 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) and in turn, the potentially multi-year "set" rulemaking process for renewable fuel volumes for 2023 and beyond.

The RVOs for 2022 are due by November 30th, 2021, an annual deadline set by Congress in the RFS. As of today, 28 days before that statutory deadline, EPA has not even issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to establish those obligations. Additionally, the final "set" rulemaking was due on November 1, 2021, and EPA has not issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for that, either. The notice gives EPA 60 days to issue the 2022 RVO and the set rulemakings according to Growth Energy.

For 2023 and later, EPA, in coordination with the DOE and the USDA, is required to set these renewable fuel volume requirements through one or more rulemakings, taking into consideration six statutory factors, including environmental, economic, and energy security factors. EPA is required to set volume requirements at least 14 months prior to the calendar year in which they are to take effect. In addition, EPA is constrained by statute to ensure that, for each year starting in 2023, the volume of advanced renewable fuel is at least the same percentage as the volume of the total renewable fuel requirement established in 2022. (Source: Growth Energy, PR, 3 Nov., 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  Ethanol Renewable Fuels Standard,  RFS,  


US GAO to Investigate EPA RFS Small Refinery Exemptions, "Hardship Waiver" Program (Ind. Report, Reg. & Leg.)
RFS,U.S. Government Accountability Office
Date: 2020-01-15
On Capitol Hill, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has replied in the affirmative to a request from bi-partisan group of U.S House members led by Rep. Abby Finkenauer, (D-Iowa) -- Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship Committee on Small Business House of Representative -- urging the agency to examine the review and approval of small refinery exemptions (SREs), including the DOE's viability of scores for the 40 compliance year 2018 SRE applications that had been reviewed as of that date.

In its Jan. 10 reply, the GAO accepted the request as being within the scope of its authority and assigned Mark E. Gaffigan, managing director of Natural Resources and Environment to begin the investigation shortly.

"Granting more than 80 small refinery exemption waivers isn't just something this administration can sweep under the rug," Finkenauer said in a statement announcing the GAO investigation.

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: Office of US Rep. Abby Finkenaur, 10 Jan., 2020) Contact: Office of US Rep. Abby Finkenaur , https://finkenauer.house.gov/sites/finkenauer.house.gov; U.S. Government Accountability Office, (202) 512-3000, contact@gao.gov, www.gao.gov

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


Suncor Challenges EPA RFS Waiver Denial (Ind. Report, Reg & Leg)
Suncor Energy
Date: 2020-01-08
Denver-based Suncor Energy U.S.A. Inc., a unit of Calgary, Alberta-based Suncor Energy, reports it has filed an appeal of the US EPA's October 2019 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. The agency recently finalized a rule designed to account for biofuel gallons waived from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

In its appeal, Suncor, which received waivers for what were previously two refineries in Commerce City, Colorado, argued the agency's action was "arbitrary, capricious, and not otherwise in accordance with law." The EPA reportedly rejected Suncor's petition because the refineries no longer meet EPA's definition of a small refinery, which produces 75,000 bpd or less. Suncor previously received waivers for what were two small refineries, one that produced nearly 33,000 bpd and another at nearly 67,000 in 2018. The refineries were among the original facilities to receive waivers in 2006.

According to the company's website, since 2006, Suncor has been making a significant impact in Canada's emerging biofuels industry. Suncor is using revenues from oil sands development to invest in biofuels, particularly ethanol produced from corn. Ethanol is a cleaner burning, renewable resource. The ethanol production industry is expanding in Canada and the United States. New government regulations require that a percentage of ethanol be blended into fuels to reduce the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions. Suncor operates Canada's largest ethanol facility -- the St. Clair Ethanol Plant in the Sarnia-Lambton region of Ontario. (Source: Suncor Energy, DTN, 6 Jan., 2019) Contact: Suncor Energy USA, 303-793-8000, www.suncor.com

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


ABA's EPA Biofuel Waivers Lawsuit Dismissed (Reg. & Leg.)
Advanced Biofuels Association
Date: 2019-11-15
Following up on our 26th April coverage, the Washington, D.C., District Court of Appeals has dismissed the Advance Biofuels Association's (ABA) lawsuit challenging the EPA's use of small refinery exemptions on the grounds that the ABA failed to "identify a final agency action."

In its suit, the ABA claimed the EPA was exceeding its authority when it granted a larger number of waivers under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) to small oil refineries. The court did, however, note "the EPA's briefing and oral argument paint a troubling picture of intentionally shrouded and hidden agency law that could have left those troubled by the agency's actions without a viable avenue for judicial review."

Since 2016, the EPA has granted a total of 85 waivers accounting for 4.04 billion gallons of biofuels that were not blended into the nation's fuel supply.

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: Various Media, NAFB News Service, 13 Nov., 2019) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

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


NBB's EPA RFS "Hardship" Waivers Challenge Nixed (Reg & Leg)
NBB,National Biodiesel Board
Date: 2019-09-09
In the nation's capitol, the US Court of Appeals has announced it will not review the Trump administration US EPA's refusal to account for its granting of numerous retroactive Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers, as challenged by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

The Court nixed the NBB's appeal on the grounds that the biofuel industry did not comment on the topic or give the EPA sufficient opportunity to address those comments. (Source: NBB, Biofuels News, 9 Sept., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  RFS,  "hardship" Waivers,  

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