RFA letter urges EPA to deny Big Oil's RFS Waiver petition

By Renewable Fuels Association | August 30, 2013

In a letter sent to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the Renewable Fuels Association urged EPA to reject the petition for a partial waiver of the 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS) submitted recently by the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.

“Big Oil’s attempt to completely rewrite and redefine the statute pertaining to RFS waivers is just another shameless example of how far they’ll go to protect their market share and block larger volumes of renewable fuel from reaching the consumer,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA’s President and CEO. “Not only do API and AFPM blatantly contort the meaning and intent of the statute, but, as trade associations, they aren’t even entitled to file a petition for a waiver in the first place.”

According to RFA’s letter, the petition from API and AFPM obscures the fundamental purpose and intent of the RFS, which is to drive the production and use of renewable fuels beyond their traditional role as fuel additives.

“The need to move beyond E10 in 2014 for the purposes of RFS compliance should hardly come as a surprise to obligated parties,” wrote Dinneen, pointing out that it was clear as early as 2009 that the so-called E10 “blend wall” would occur in 2013 or 2014. “Unfortunately, many obligated parties chose to blatantly ignore the strong signals compelling them to begin preparations for higher volumes of renewable fuels and to increase investments in storage and distribution infrastructure. Now, the members of API and AFPM seek relief from their renewable fuel blending obligations, arguing that their failure to prepare for 2014 RFS requirements somehow merits reprieve. EPA should not reward such blatant disregard for resoundingly clear policy signals.”

The RFA comments conclude that the combination of increased E85 and E15 sales, carry-over RINs from 2013, and likely administrative adjustments to the 2014 advanced biofuel standard will allow obligated parties to easily meet their RFS requirements without adverse economic consequences. “

EPA should act swiftly to reject the petition submitted by API and AFPM. The conditions outlined in the Clean Air Act under which EPA may grant a waiver simply do not exist,” Dinneen concluded. “The RFS is working precisely as intended—EPA is exercising its authority to adjust annual blending requirements, RINs are sending clear signals to the marketplace to expand renewable fuels infrastructure and consumption, and RIN banking and trading provisions are providing compliance flexibility to obligated parties. In short, oil refiners and importers should have no difficulty in meeting their 2014 blending requirements.”

The full letter is available here