WASHINGTON, D.C. – Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that it granted another small refinery exemption for 2017:
“New leadership at the EPA was supposed to mean a return to the president’s pro-biofuel agenda. Instead, we’re getting a man-made recession in rural America, just to boost profits for a few oil giants. There’s no way to view continued abuse of EPA waivers except as a betrayal of rural manufacturing workers and farm communities. The EPA has now destroyed 2.6 billion gallons of biofuel demand, eliminating the market for a billion bushels of U.S. grain. Farm families are already facing natural disasters, on top of lost export markets. If the EPA doesn’t act now to restore the market promised to farmers, there is little hope for a swift rural recovery. EPA must start considering denials for the record 39 exemption requests that have already arrived for 2018. If 2018 looks anything like 2017 in terms of refinery handouts, the damage to the rural economy could be irreparable.”
View EPA’s small refinery exemption dashboard here.
Under the RFS, refineries producing transportation fuel must demonstrate each year that they have blended certain volumes of renewable fuel into gasoline or diesel fuel or acquired credits from others called “RINs” representing all of part of those volume obligations. The RFS allows certain “small” refineries – those with a throughput of less than 75,000 barrels per day – to petition EPA for a temporary extension of an exemption from the renewable fuel volume requirements for a given year if they can show that compliance would have a “disproportionate economic impact” on them. EPA is required to consult with the Department of Energy to determine whether to grant an exemption.
To date, EPA has yet to provide the public with any information regarding how it assesses small refinery exemption petitions and it has resisted release of almost all information regarding recent exemptions that have been granted, including: (1) the name of the exempted refinery; (2) the volume of renewable fuel exempted; and (3) EPA’s analysis of whether the small refinery would be subject to disproportionate economic harm if it had to comply with the RFS.
In 2018, Growth Energy and allied organizations also filed a lawsuit in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and a related administrative petition with EPA on the misuse of small refinery exemptions.
Additionally, Growth Energy and an industry ally filed another lawsuit in federal district court in August on 2018, alleging that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) have improperly denied agency records requested by Growth Energy and RFA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
At the start of 2019, Growth Energy filed an appeal in federal district court in Feb. challenging EPA over their failure to address small refinery exemptions in their 2019 renewable volume obligation.