Biofuel industry criticizes Marathon’s RFS waiver request

By Erin Voegele | May 24, 2018

Representatives and supporters of the U.S. biofuels industry are criticizing Marathon Petroleum Corp. for seeking a small refiner hardship waiver for one of its refineries that would exempt that facility from meeting its Renewable Fuel Standard blending obligations.

News broke May 23 that Marathon has requested the waiver, which if approved, would waive the 2017 renewable volume obligation (RVO) for one of Marathon’s refineries.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is speaking out, calling the RFS waiver process broken. “That an oil company making billions of dollars in profits even thinks it has a shot at receiving a ‘hardship’ waiver proves how broken this process is,” he said. “The statutory volume obligation for conventional biofuels is 15 billion gallons annually. That’s what Congress intended. That’s the spirit of the law. That’s what President Trump promised. Any changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard have to fix this embarrassing loophole and guarantee 15 billion gallons of ethanol actually get blended.”

Growth Energy is speaking out to criticize news of the waiver application. “Two of the largest corporations in the country are set to create an oil monopoly, and they are still expecting ‘small refiner’ handouts,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “This is what happens when EPA regulators are permitted to ignore the president’s commitments to rural communities. These waivers have already siphoned billions away from farm families to enrich some of the world’s largest oil companies as well as a few well-connected investors like Carl Icahn. Those gallons need to be restored and American consumers need immediate, year-round access to E15."

The Advanced Biofuels Business Council called the situation absurd. “This is the theatre of the absurd,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the ABBC. “Marathon wants a small refinery hardship waiver at the very moment it is seeking to become the nation’s largest refiner by acquiring Andeavor for $23 billion. The federal government should be protecting consumers by scrutinizing mergers like this instead of handing out dividends to multibillion dollar oil companies seeking to monopolize critical energy sectors. Marathon is giving it a shot because Scott Pruitt is doing everything he can to line refiners’ pockets even if it means making a mockery of the President’s commitments to rural America.”