EPA approves 5 pending 2017 small refinery exemptions

By Staff Report | March 14, 2019

The U.S. EPA on March 14 approved five more 2017 small refinery exemptions, pushing the number of approved waivers from 2016 and 2017 over 50, and 2.61 billion gallons, according to the American Coalition for Ethanol.

EPA did not reallocate the blending obligations.

Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE, said in a statement, “On National Agriculture Day, as farmers are long-suffering from lost market opportunities and low prices, and many farmer-owned ethanol plants across rural America are considering whether to suspend operations or sell out to a bigger company because of limited demand here at home, EPA has further depressed demand for ethanol by rubber stamping five more Small Refinery Exemptions for 2017, and done so without reallocating the blending obligations to other refiners. Any benefit of selling E15 year-round will be wiped out until and unless EPA gets back to the rule of law when it comes to these refinery waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO, said in a 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.”

ACE, the RFA, the National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy, the National Farmers Union and others have petitioned EPA to reallocate waived gallons. RFA, ACE, NCGA and NFU also filed a lawsuit last year to challenge several of the waivers.