EPA: 5 SRE applications filed for compliance year 2019

By Erin Voegele | October 17, 2019

The U.S. EPA published updated small refinery exemption (SRE) data on Oct. 17 that shows the agency has received five SRE applications for compliance year 2019. All five applications are listed as pending.

No other changes were made to the EPA’s SRE data. In addition to the five new SRE applications for compliance year 2019, two SRE applications are still pending for compliance year 2018.

The updated SRE data comes two days after the agency released its supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comments on how it should project the volume of SREs in annual Renewable Fuel Standard rulemakings to set annual renewable volume obligations (RVOs). The rulemaking has been criticized by biofuel groups for proposing to use a three-year rolling average of U.S. Department of Energy recommendations on SRE approvals to adjust future RVOs. The original deal biofuel groups were briefed on by the White House, however, would have used a three-year rolling average of actual SRE waived gallons to calculate the RVO adjustment. Actual SRE approvals over the past three years have been significantly higher than DOE recommended SRE approvals, according to data featured in the Oct. 15 supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.

That data shows the EPA followed DOE recommendations for compliance year 2015, providing a total exemption of 290 million RINs. There was, however, a significant mismatch between DOE recommendations and EPA approvals for compliance years 2016-2018.

For compliance year 2016, the EPA said the DOE recommended the approval of SREs equating to 440 million RINs. In actuality, the EPA approved SREs accounting for approximately 790 million RINs. Similarly, the DOE’s compliance year 2017 recommendation reached 1.02 billion RINs, far lower than the estimated 1.82 billion RINs finalized by the EPA. For compliance year 2018, for which several SRE applications are still pending, the DOE has to date recommended the EPA approve SREs accounting for 840 RIN million RINs, far lower than the 1.43 billion RINs worth of SREs already approved by the agency.

Additional SRE data is available on the EPA website