The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its last day in office granted Sinclair Oil Corporation’s refineries in Wyoming with biofuel waivers for the 2019 compliance year, Reuters informed this Thursday. Sinclair Oil Corporation is today the only company with biofuels waivers for that year, so far.
EPA announced on Tuesday night, just hours before leaving office, that it had granted two 2019 waivers for two refineries, nevertheless, the agency did not announce from which company, nor it identified the recipients. 30 more waiver requests kept unanswered.
Sources with knowledge to the case confirmed to Reuters that the waivers went to Sinclair’s Oil Corporation refineries in Wyoming; the 85,000 barrels per day Sinclair Wyoming Refinery, and the 30,000 bpd Sinclair Casper refinery.
EPA’s report also says it approved a waiver for the 2018 compliance year, nevertheless, sources did not confirm the identity or the recipient of the waiver.
Such action is seen as symbolic as the control the Trump administration had on the EPA; the announcement was not received without criticism from both parties. On one side, the biofuel industry maintains its position to the waivers being a threat to their demand and chain of value. On the other side, oil refiners argue the EPA left many requests unanswered.
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EPA wanted to grant all 2019 waiver requests
As we have reported previously, the Renewable Fuel Standard and the Small Exemptions program have been under a heated debate. The RFS mandates oil refiners to blend certain amounts of biofuels into their mix. But they can avoid those obligations under the waiver program, if they can prove the obligations causes financial harm.
Under Donald Trump’s term, those exemptions or waivers nearly quadrupled, angering the biofuel industry as such indiscriminate approval of waivers hurts their demand, chain of value, and threatens corn farmers, ethanol producers and U.S. agriculture.
Earlier this month, there were some news about the EPA’s intentions to grant the majority of 2019’s waiver requests, which were around 32 pending requests. By that time, The Renewable Fuel Association said that, if EPA granted the waivers, it would challenge the agency in court.
As of now, is not clear how the Biden administration will handle the biofuels and waivers situation. Officials from the biofuel industry have sought contact and communication with the president, but a resolution remains unclear.