Small refineries (with production capacity less than 75,000 barrels per day) were exempt from the original Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) enacted in 2005. When Congress expanded the program in 2007, it also directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to study whether the exemption should be extended. DOE recommended a two-year extension for 13 small refineries. Following DOE's recommendation and responding to additional petitions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extended the exemption through 2012 for 24 small refineries.
Congress also granted individual small refineries the right to petition EPA for additional temporary extensions of their individual exemptions. The petitioning small refineries must demonstrate disproportionate economic hardship directly resulting from
compliance with the program.
Between 2013 and 2015, EPA granted extensions to only a few small refineries each year. Then, in early
2017 the agency rapidly increased the number of exemptions. It granted the exemptions retroactively for prior compliance years and for refineries that previously did not qualify. EPA returns retired Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) to the
retroactively exempted refineries, which sell them to other refineries or use them for future compliance.
NBB argues that EPA has a duty to ensure the RFS volumes it sets each year are made whole following the exemptions.
To get more information on NBB’s advocacy efforts on the issue, please visit the National Biodiesel Board's website.