In a notice on July 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied almost all outstanding petitions from oil refiners asking to be exempted from mandates that require them to mix biofuels into their fuel.
The EPA denied 26 petitions from 15 small refineries who applied for waivers for the 2016-2018 and 2021-2023 compliance years. There are still two pending petitions.
According to reports, under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel mix or buy tradable credits from those that do. The EPA can, however, award exemptions to some small refiners if they prove that the obligations cause them undue harm.
According to the notice, the EPA consulted with the Department of Energy its waiver decisions and found none of the petitioning small refineries demonstrated they face disproportionate economic hardship caused by their RFS compliance.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) said it supports the EPA's continued transparent and fair assessment of SREs through more stringent hardship and economic impact requirements and appreciates efforts to uphold the integrity of the RFS.
"Historically, significant SRE approvals without clear and consistent metrics for evaluation created vast market uncertainty and undermined the intent of the RFS, creating a challenging environment for continued growth in the biomass-based diesel industry," said the ASA in a statement.
"EPA has worked in recent years to develop new parameters for petition approvals that have proven effective at strengthening the RFS," ASA continued. "ASA is pleased with this progress and hopes EPA will continue to work with the biofuels industry to implement the RFS as intended."
With the finalization of these 26 SRE petition denials, EPA has cut down SRE backlogs significantly, with only two outstanding petitions remaining from compliance year 2018.