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EPA's Wheeler Says Small Refiner Exemption Actions Still Coming

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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From DTN's Washington Insider:

EPA’s Wheeler Says Small Refiner Exemption Actions Still Coming

EPA currently expects to make decisions on small refiner exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the 2018 compliance year in the next few weeks, according to Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

"We're going through them," Wheeler told reporters as he visited a refinery in Pennsylvania Monday. "We hope to be processing them and making decisions in the next few weeks and month at the most.”

EPA received the recommendations from the Department of Energy (DOE) in April relative to the SREs for the 2018 compliance year. However, no action has been taken as of yet on most of the requests. EPA data shows 40 SRE requests were received for the 2018 compliance year with two being declared ineligible or withdrawn, leaving 38 still pending.

President Donald Trump also asked EPA and USDA to come up with a resolution on the controversial topic after he was surprised by criticism of the SREs when he made a stop in Iowa in June to tout the allowance of year-round sales of E15 fuel. That order by Trump prompted a firestorm of criticism from those on both sides of the issue.

Proposed 2020 RFS Levels Finally Published

The proposed levels for 2020 biofuels and 2021 biodiesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) were published in the Federal Register today.

The action proposes some reforms to the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market, though the changes do not go as far as some had expected. The proposed rule also contains EPA’s response to a court order directing it to reassess its RFS levels for 2016. Comments on the proposed rule are due August 30.

The action reflects EPA’s apparent reset of the RFS for 2020 biofuel and 2021 biodiesel, though the rule that covers the full period of 2020-2022 has yet to be sent back to EPA from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), with meetings on the RFS reset taking place last week.

EPA still signals the 2020 RFS levels will be finalized by the statutory November 30 deadline. The RFS reset plan, however, is listed as being targeted to be finalized in February 2020.

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