Sinclair Oil Corporation confirmed last week it had secured waivers for its biofuels obligations; now, the company defends those waivers in court, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C, Circuit ruled on Thursday those waivers must be revoked.
As we reported previously, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still under the Trump administration ruled waivers for Sinclair Oil Corporation on its last full day in office.
Specifically, for two of the company’s refineries in Wyoming, the 85,000 barrels per day Sinclair Wyoming Refinery, and the 30,000 bpd Sinclair Casper refinery. Waivers corresponded to the 2019 compliance year.
Such action was seen as symbolic of the control the Trump administration had on the EPA; the announcement was not received without criticism from both biofuel industry and refiners. 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.
Last Thursday, the Court of Appeals ruled that those waivers must be stayed, after the Renewable Fuels Association filed a court challenge. The Sinclair Oil Corporation defended its right to the waivers, arguing that, if the exceptions were blocked, the company would have financial harm.
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Waivers granted to Sinclair Oil face opposition from senators
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.
On January 25, Iowa’s senators expressed concern about these last waivers granted by EPA. “I’m disappointed that on his way out the door, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler decided to grant three more harmful, so-called small refinery exemptions,” Sen. Joni Ernst said in a statement.
First District U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson urged the Biden administration to stop and revoke these waivers. “The Biden administration should revoke these waivers immediately and ensure the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard is maintained going forward.”