• Renewable Fuels Association

RFA ‘greatly encouraged’ by EPA rejection of small refinery exemption

The U.S. EPA denied one small refinery exemption (SRE) petition Nov. 5 that had been filed by a refiner looking to escape its renewable fuel blending obligations under the Clean Air Act for the 2019 compliance year. The action marks the first SRE denial decision by EPA under the Biden administration.

“We are greatly encouraged by EPA’s decision to deny this bailout request from an oil refinery that has continually attempted to dodge its legal obligations to blend low-carbon renewable fuels,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “It appears EPA and DOE are indeed following the criteria for deciding SRE petitions established by the Tenth Circuit Court decision in the RFA et al. v. EPA case. Our industry lost more than 4 billion gallons of demand due to the previous administration’s rampant abuse of the SRE program, and we are pleased to see that the days of EPA-induced demand destruction appear to be behind us. EPA’s new leadership appears to be making good on its promises to rein in the SRE program, and today’s decision is consistent with the new policy direction announced by EPA earlier this year and President Biden’s position that the last administration’s SRE abuse was a ‘gigantic mistake.’ However, 65 exemption petitions are still pending and we urge the agency to swiftly deny any and all remaining applications that fail to pass the common-sense test established by the Tenth Circuit.”

After updating its dashboard Nov. 5, EPA reports that 65 small refinery exemption petitions remain pending. In addition to the Nov. 5 denial, EPA under the Biden administration has reversed three exemptions granted by the previous administration, and 15 pending SRE petitions have been withdrawn.

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