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Valero, AFPM Seek "Point of Obligation" Clarification (Reg & Leg)
Valero Energy ,American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers
Date: 2020-01-08
San Antonio-headquartered Valero Energy Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil processor by capacity, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers organization have filed a court petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether the U.S. EPA is required to consider petitions to change the "point of obligation" under the Clean Air Act's Renewable Fuel Standard.

The petition notes: "The Clean Air Act's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program requires EPA to undertake annual notice-and-comment rule making to determine a 'renewable fuel obligation' for the nation's transportation fuel supply. The first of three annual 'required elements' is to determine the point of obligation -- i.e., to ensure that the obligation shall be applicable to refineries, blenders, and importers, as appropriate. EPA admits that it initially placed the point of obligation on refineries and importers, but not blenders, for reasons of administrative convenience. EPA has repeatedly refused to re-examine that placement in annual rule making, and it denied petitions for rule making seeking reconsideration out-side the statutorily-mandated annual assessment."

The petition specifically questions: whether the requirement that EPA "shall" make a "calendar year" determination of the "appropriate" point of obligation requires EPA to consider in each annual rule whether the point of obligation remains appropriate.The petition also questions whether EPA can evade the annual duty by partitioning the point of obligation into a one-time collateral proceeding that ignores key evidence,relies primarily on the agency's own convenience, and claims more deference from a reviewing court than an annual rule would receive. (Source: AFPM Website, Valero Energy, Ethanol Producer, 6 May, 2019) Contact: American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers,; Valero Renewable Fuels, Joe Gorder, Pres., (800) 324-8464,

More Low-Carbon Energy News American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers ,  RFS,  Point of Obligation,  Valero Energy ,  

EPA Issues RFS "Extraordinary Hardship Waivers" (Reg & Leg)
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,; Philadelphia Energy Solutions,

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

NBB Qustions PES RFS Settlement (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
National Biodiesel Board
Date: 2018-03-28
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) called on the Department of Justice to reconsider its proposed settlement allowing Philadelphi Energy Solutions (PES) to escape the vast majority of its 2016-17 obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). According to NBB, the proposed settlement would harm the renewable fuels industry and undermine the intent of the RFS program by excusing more than 70 pct of the company's compliance obligations for the two-year period.

"While PES continues to blame the RFS for its woes, the fact is, the bankruptcy is a mess of its own making," said Kurt Kovarik, NBB's VP of Federal Affairs. "Poor management and a failure to respond to changes in the crude oil market is to blame. PES should not be rewarded for deliberately failing to comply with the decade-old Renewable Fuel Standard. Doing so is akin to rewarding a toddler in the midst of a temper tantrum. Instead, the government should hold PES to the same renewable volume obligation as all other refiners. Not doing so could severely hinder the RFS's goals of enhancing energy security, protecting the environment and building our nation’s rural economy."

NBB highlighted two key components in comments to the DOJ submitted March 26. First, the RFS holds parent companies liable for the compliance obligations of their subsidiaries. Thus, PES's corporate parents Carlyle and Sunoco can be required to comply with the RFS obligations incurred by PES. EPA has not explained why it is abandoning that avenue for ensuring complete fulfillment of PES's obligations. Second, the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the RFS cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. The RFS creates an affirmative duty for obligated parties to blend or use biofuels or to buy credits from others who have done so. Such a duty persists through the bankruptcy because it cannot be resolved by a payment to the government. (Source: National Biodiesel Board, 27 Mar., 2018) Contact: National Biodiesel Board, Kurt Kovarik, VP of Federal Affairs, 800) 841-5849,; Philadelphia Energy Solutions,

More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,  PES,  Point of Obligation,  RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  NBB,  RFS,  

EPA Extends PES Refinery's Biofuel Compliance Date (Ind. Report)
Philadelphia Energy Solutions, EPA
Date: 2018-02-02
Following up on our 24 January coverage, Reuters is reporting the US EPA has agreed to extend the deadline for Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) to comply with its biofuel credit obligation to May 1, according to a bankruptcy filing.

As previously reported, PES' plan to exit it Chapter 11 bankruptcy is dependent upon its shedding existing biofuel "point-of-obligation" biofuel blending costs under the US DOE Renewable Fuels Standard. The company claims its 2016-17 biofuels obligation totaled $185 million, and the cost of RINs in 2017 alone was $218 million, according to Reuters. (Source: PES, Reuters, Various Media, Feb., 2018) Contact: Philadelphia Energy Solutions,

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Point-of-Obligation,  RINs,  Ethanol,  Ethanol BlendPhiladelphia Energy Solutions,  RFS,  Point of Obligation,  EPA,  

Growing Numbers of Refineries Seeking RFS Waivers (Reg & Leg)
Date: 2018-01-26
Following on our January 24th coverage -- Refiner PES Pins Bankruptcy on RFS Costs -- Reuters is reporting that 27 small -- under 75,000 bpd -- U.S. refineries are seeking waivers and exemptions from the US EPA Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) "point of obligation" blending regulations which they claim is costing them billions of dollars a year to fulfill.

The EPA has the authority to grant exemptions from the program to small capacity refineries if the company can demonstrate financial hardship. but the agency has been reluctant to do so in the past. In the four years ended in 2016, the agency reportedly granted a total of 29 small-refiner exemptions, according to data provided to Reuters by the EPA in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. (Source: NASDAQ, Reuters, Others, 25 Jan., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  

Poet Applauds EPA Point of Obligation Decision (Ind. Report)
Date: 2017-11-27
Commenting on the EPA's decision to maintain the current point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), Sioux Falls, South Dakota-headquartered Poet LLC CEO Jeff Broin said: "By maintaining the point of obligation for the RFS, the EPA is allowing the system to continue to work as designed. Under the RFS, infrastructure for biofuel-blended fuel is expanding, with opportunities for additional consumer-driven growth. The RFS works, evident from the numerous benefits it allows Americans to enjoy today: cleaner air, fewer carcinogens in gasoline, lower fuel costs and increased energy independence." (Source: Poet, Various Media, Biofuels Int'l, Others, 24 Nov., 2017) Contact: Poet LLC, Jeff Broin, CEO, (605) 965-2200,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Poet,  Point of Obligation,  RFS,  Biofuel Blending,  

Iowa Applauds EPA Biofuels Blending Decision (Reg. & Leg.)
Date: 2017-11-27
The Des Moines Register reports the EPA's denial of Valero Energy and other refiner's call for changes to Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules on who is responsible blending ethanol with gasoline is welcomed news in the Hawkeye State.

In its decision released Wednesday, EPA said "a change in the point of obligation would unnecessarily increase the complexity of the program and undermine the success of the RFS program."

Iowas Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) said "Keeping the point of obligation where it is now, with refiners and importers, has worked and makes sense. Moving the point of obligation from a handful of refiners to hundreds or thousands of small fuel retailers would undermine the integrity and viability of this successful program."

The EPA is slated to announce the volume requirements -- the amount of biofuels that must be blended with the nation's fuel supply -- by the end of the month. In July, EPA proposed volume requirements for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel that are lower than 2017 requirements. (Source: EPA, The Des Moines Register, 24 Nov., 2017) Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Biofuel Blend,  RFS EPA,  Point of Obligation,  

EPA Stymies RFS Point of Obligation Blending Change (Reg. & Leg.)
EPA, Valero
Date: 2017-11-27
Bloomberg is reporting that the Trump administration EPA has nixed a bid by Valero Energy Corp. and other refiners to alter the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) biofuel mandate on the grounds that it wouldn't "result in net overall benefits to the program." The Environmental Protection Agency denied petitions by Valero Energy Corp. and other refiners to alter the U.S. biofuel mandate because it does not believe the changes "would result in net overall benefits to the program," according to the agency's website.

The proposed changes were widely opposed by farm-state legislators and ethanol producers. The EPA's formal declaration satisfies EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's pledge to retain the current structure of the RFS requiring refiners and importers to blend biofuels into petroleum transportation fuels.

Refiners are reportedly affected unevenly by the current mandate -- those without sufficient infrastructure to blend in biofuels themselves must instead buy credits to comply while other companies that blend transportation fuels, but do not own refineries and therefore are not required to satisfy annual biofuel quotas, can sell those tradable credits. (Source: EPA, Industry Week, Bloomberg, 23 Nov., 2017) Contact: Valero Energy, (800) 324-8464,; EPA Scott Pruitt,;

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  EPA,  Scott Pruitt,  Valero,  Point of Obligation,  

ACE VP Wants RFS Point Of Obligation Unchanged (Reg & Leg)
American Coalition for Ethanol
Date: 2017-08-09
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior VP Ron Lamberty is calling for the EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) Point of Obligation to remain unchanged. The ACE stance is in response to reports that the EPA was going to reject proposed changes to the Point of Obligation RFS rule requiring oil companies to blend a designated amount of ethanol into gasoline. An EPA ruling is expected within the next few weeks. (Source: ACE, WNAX , 8 Aug., 2017) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Ron Lamberty, (605) 334-3381,

More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  Ethanol Blend,  Point of Obligation,  RFS,  

EPA Expected to Nix Biofuel Point of Obligation Changes (Reg & Leg)
Date: 2017-08-07
It is being widely reported that the Trump administration EPA will reject a proposed overhaul of the U.S. biofuels program -- Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) -- that would move biofuel blending responsibilities from fuel refiners and place the burden on fuel blenders and other entities. The EPA is expected formally announce the decision within the next two weeks.

Biofuels producers have claimed that shifting the 'point of obligation' away from refiners would cause "years of industry upheaval." The American Petroleum Institute (API) has opposed the change, saying it would be a "distraction from the kind of overhaul or full-on repeal the program needs." (Sourc: EPA, FSM News, Others, 4 Aug., 2017)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  Point of Obligation,  EPA,  API,  

Fuels Groups Oppose RFS Point of Obligation Change (Ind. Report)
Date: 2017-05-24
Three fueling trade associations -- the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing (NACS), SIGMA (representing the nation's fuel marketers) and NATSO (representing the nation's truckstops and travel plazas) -- have launched a new video campaign aimed at demonstrating how shifting the compliance responsibility under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) away from refiners will raise hurt small retailers and the entire U.S. economy.

The video is intended to dispel the widespread confusion created within the marketplace by a handful of merchant refiners and investors who have petitioned the EPA to shift the compliance requirements. Doing so would undercut RFS efforts to sustain the use of renewable fuels in gasoline and diesel fuel, according to the video.

NACS, NATSO, SIGMA and a coalition of more than 35 organizations and companies representing the entire fuel supply chain, from refiners to retailers to renewable fuels groups, oppose shifting the compliance responsibility on the grounds that it would create disruption in the marketplace and ultimately raise prices at the pump. (Source: NACS, 23 May, 2017) Contact: NATSO, Lisa Mullings, Pres., CEO, David Fialkov, VP Gov. Affairs, (703) 549-2100,; NACS,; SIGMA,;

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend,  Point of Obligation,  NATSO,  SIGMA,  NACS,  

Renewable Fuels Nebraska Opposes RFS Point of Obligation Changes (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Renewable Fuels Nebraska
Date: 2017-03-10
"Renewable Fuels Nebraska (RFN) remains strongly opposed to any change in the Point of Obligation if it would undermine the integrity of that important program. RFN is committed to the RFS (Renewale Fuel Standard) because it is good public policy, good for consumers, and good for Nebraska.

"The challenge facing the Nebraska ethanol industry today is access to the consumer. RFN supports measures that would eliminate barriers to the increased sale of E15 and open new markets for domestic renewable fuels."

RFN represents ethanol producers in the state of Nebraska, which produces approximately 2.5 billion gpy at 25 plants. (Source: Renewable Fuels Nebraska, Mar., 2017) Contact: Renewable Fuels Nebraska, Mark Palmer, Exec. Dir.,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Nebraska ,  Ethanol Blend,  Ethanol,  Point of Obligation,  

White House Denies RFS Point of Obligation Exec. Order (Ind. Report)
Renewable Fuels Association,Carl Ichan
Date: 2017-03-06
In Washington, it is being widely reported that the Trump Administration will soon issue an Executive Order shifting the biofuels blending point of obligation from refiners, manufacturers and importers downstream to blenders or position holders.

The possible Executive Order is reportedly the culmination of a "backroom" deal between Trump Administration advisor Carl Icahn and the Renewable Fuels Association that would shift the obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from refiners to fuel retailers.

A White House spokesperson reportedly denied rumors of a change to the ethanol mandate and said "there isn't an ethanol Executive Order in the works." (Source: Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, Various Others, 1 Mar., 2017)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Point of Obligation,  Biofuel Blend,  Carl Ichan,  Renewable Fuels Association,  

Is Trump Planning RFS Point of Obligation Changes? (Ind. Report)
RFS Point of Obligation
Date: 2017-03-03
It is being widely reported that President Donald Trump may be considering an executive order to change the point of obligation in the Renewable Fuel Standard, According to the Renewable Fuels Association. The executive order reportedly will change the point of obligation from refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel to ethanol blenders.

The Renewable Fuels Assocoation (RFA) has come out in opposition to such a change. "We were told the point-of-obligation change was going to happen, whether we were involved or not," RFA Communication Director Rachel Gantz told DTN. "We wanted to make sure E15 RVP parity was addressed." Then, the RFA offered a statement from its President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen, who said his group remains opposed to changing the point of obligation. "We received a call from an official with the Trump administration, informing us that a pending executive order would change the point of obligation from refiners to position holders at the terminal, a potentially small increase in the number of obligated parties, but one which would distribute the obligation more equitably," Dinneen said. Dinneen added, "Despite our continued opposition to the move, we were told the executive order was not negotiable."

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday quoted a White House spokesperson as saying "there are no pending executive orders related to ethanol." (Source: Various Sources, DTN Progressive Farmer, Mar., 2017)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS Point of Obligation,  

Fuels America, RFA Part Ways Over Point of Obligation (Ind. Report)
Fuels America,Renewable Fuels Association
Date: 2017-03-03
US biofuels lobby group Fuels America, a coalition of ethanol related industry players, reports it is parting ways with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) over plans to change the contentious Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) point of obligation requirement, the point in the fuel supply chain in which a party becomes obligated to comply with the RFS requirements.

In its initial rulemaking, the EPA defined an obligated party as a refiner or importer and explained then that they considered placing the point of obligation at the terminal. The EPA now says the RFS would be maintained, but responsibility for compliance would be shifted from refiners to fuel blenders.

Fuels America apparently took umbridge to RFA CEO Bob Dinneen's recent statement that the association "received a call from an official with the Trump administration" informing it that a pending White House order would remove oil refiner's obligation to blend ethanol with gasoline. (Source: Fuels Amercia, 2 Mar., 2017) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, (202) 289-3835,; Fuels America Coalition,

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  point of obligation,  Fuels America,  Renewable Fuels Association ,  

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