NBB Asks EPA for Transparency on "Gap" Small Refinery Exemption Petitions

Jun 2, 2020, 8:43 AM
Letter expresses concern that "gap" petitions are not listed on EPA refinery exemption dashboard


 Contact: Paul Winters

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the National Biodiesel Board delivered a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking that he disclose any small refinery exemption petitions for RFS compliance years preceding 2019 that the Environmental Protection Agency received this year. NBB further asks that EPA apply the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit's ruling in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA to all petitions submitted to the agency since January 24th of this year.

"The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry values and relies on your commitment to transparency regarding small refinery exemptions," NBB writes, referring to Administrator Wheeler's creation of the EPA Small Refinery Exemption dashboard. Noting that both Wheeler and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Under Secretary Mark Menezes responded to questions about "gap" petitions in May 20 testimony before two Senate committees, NBB writes, "It is concerning that no record of any of these petitions exists on the Agency's dashboard."

NBB further writes, "EPA's first step upon receiving any petition for a small refinery exemption should be to evaluate its timeliness and validity before transmitting it to the Department of Energy." The letter lays out arguments that considering "gap" petitions would be inconsistent with the 10th Circuit's ruling, the Renewable Fuel Standard statute, and EPA's own regulations and guidance. "Indeed, allowing gap filings would render the program entirely unpredictable for renewable fuel producers," NBB writes.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's VP of Federal Affairs, adds, "EPA's small refinery exemption spree over the past three years undermined the RFS and destroyed demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel. The industry has been fighting for years to improve transparency and accountability around these handouts to refiners that come at the expense of small biofuel producers. We are asking EPA Administrator Wheeler to restore confidence in the RFS."

A copy of the letter is available for download.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation's first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors.


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