RFA’s CEO calls 52 Small Refinery Exemption petitions “absurd”
The President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association says the 52 new petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions absurd. Geoff Cooper says, “It’s a completely cynical attempt to undermine and get around that 10th Circuit (Court) decision.”
Cooper tells Brownfield the Tenth Circuit Court decision in January vacated three illegal waivers and clearly told the EPA it could not grant waivers for past compliance periods.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler testified before the Senate in mid-May there were retroactive petitions filed and told Brownfield Monday he didn’t know how many petitions there were. Cooper says pressure from lawmakers and ethanol supporters about the lack of transparency likely forced EPA to post the information to its online dashboard Thursday. “Other groups and some of our friends on the hill have weighed in with the agency and said, hey, listen, you committed to transparency. You have this dashboard. We’d like to know how many of these gap year petitions you have received.”
Cooper says EPA should go ahead and make a decision on the SRE petitions, “but they should do it in the context of what the 10th Circuit Court said, and if these petitions don’t meet that criteria, and if these refineries can’t show that they’ve had continuous exemptions, then EPA has no choice but to deny those petitions.”
Cooper tells Brownfield the 52 new gap petitions plus the unprocessed 2019 petitions add up to nearly 80 possible waivers that would exempt about one-third of U.S. refiners from blending ethanol in fuel.