The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still under the Trump administration is expected to approve most of the biofuel waivers pending from 2019, according to sources quoted by Reuters.
These waivers have been at the center of a heated debate. As we have reported previously, under the Renewable Fuel Standard, oil refiners are obliged to produce certain amounts of ethanol or biofuels into their mix.
Nevertheless, smaller refiners may ask for waivers of that obligation if they can prove it causes financial harm to them. These exceptions were almost quadrupled under the Trump administration, to the anger of the corn and biofuel industry, as they argue the waiver program harms the biofuel value chain and demand.
According to Reuters, the EPA is expected to announce this very Wednesday that it will grant waivers for the 2019 compliance year, exempting refiners in the production of nearly 1,1 billion gallons of ethanol-based fuel.
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22 out of 32 biofuel waivers may be granted
That would be around 22 of the 32 pending waivers for refiners, that requested the waiver in 2019.
The Renewable Fuel Association has said that, if EPA grants these waivers, it would challenge the agency in court. In a letter signed by several members of the Association, and members of congress, the Association said:
“These illegal small refinery exceptions are contrary to legislative intent and hurt our rural economies; they also impede the use of clean, renewable liquid fuel in the marketplace. This news arrives at the worst time possible as the biofuels industry continues to reel from the economic impacts caused by the pandemic. These exceptions, coming on top of 85 waivers already granted by EPA over the past four years, would also cause immense and unnecessary strain to businesses that are desperately trying to keep workers on payroll.”
The EPA has not responded for request of comment. Nevertheless, last week Reuters reported EPA’s intentions to grant those waivers. Agency is expected to take action this week.