Refineries given RFS waivers is ‘outrageous abuse of the statute’

By Renewable Fuels Association | April 03, 2018

Earlier today, Reuters reported that EPA has exempted several refineries owned by one of the nation’s largest oil refining companies, Andeavor, from compliance with the 2016 Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations (RVOs). The exemption releases three of Andeavor’s refineries, two in North Dakota and one in Utah, from their 2016 RFS obligations. RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen had the following statement:

“EPA has struck again. It appears the agency has initiated a fire sale on RFS demand. Providing a small refiner waiver to a company like Andeavor is laughable and abandons the commitment of President Trump to protect the RFS. This is an outrageous abuse of the statute.”

According to EPA’s definition of a small refiner economic hardship waiver, it is meant for small refiners producing less than 75,000 barrels per day and “may only be granted if EPA determines, based on supporting evidence in the petition, that compliance with Renewable Fuel Standard obligations will impose disproportionate economic hardship on the refinery in the year for which the exemption is requested.”

Continued Dinneen, “This is yet one more action in a series of disturbing moves made after the final RVOs were issued. These latest actions have been under the cover of darkness, with no transparency whatsoever. To date, EPA has still not disclosed which refiners received exemptions from 2016 or 2017 RFS obligations. No one really knows how far these exemptions go, or how many total companies have received these waivers.

“Any claims the RFS is negatively impacting the oil industry are absurd, much less the fifth-largest refiner in the country which posted a profit of nearly $1.5 billion last year. Suffice it to say we are exploring all our options to return the RFS to what the statute intended and what the President has supported,” Dinneen added.

Additionally, in November 2017, nearly two years after EPA finalized the 2016 RVOs, the agency disclosed that it had exempted at least 14 small refiners from the 2016 RFS requirements, amounting to at least 515 million renewable identification numbers (RINs) being removed from the total 2016 obligation and effectively reducing the RVO. This is clearly intentional demand destruction and a subversive attack on the RFS.