NBB submits FOIA request to ensure RFS transparency

By The National Biodiesel Board | April 12, 2018

The National Biodiesel Board submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request aimed at shedding light on small refiner exemptions requested and issued under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“The EPA’s decision to grant upwards of 25 exemptions, with at least one significant waiver in the dark of night to a large and profitable refiner, raises urgent questions as to what else might be going on behind closed doors,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “Transparency and certainty are key to maintaining a competitive market for biodiesel, and it is critical we understand the impact any waivers could have on the industry and fuel choice for consumers.”

NBB requested:

-Any records submitted to EPA in conjunction with a petition for a small refinery exemption pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 7545(o)(9)(B) for compliance with the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. 

-Any records summarizing information regarding petitions for a small refinery exemption under 42 U.S.C. § 7545(o)(9)(B) for 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, including but not limited to:

-The number of petitions for a small refinery exemption that EPA has received for each year.

-The number of petitions for a small refinery exemption that EPA has granted for each year.

-The total volume of renewable fuel that would be exempted under petitions for a small refinery exemption that EPA has received for each year.

-The total volume of renewable fuel that will be exempted under petitions for a small refinery exemption that EPA has granted for each year.

-The name of each refinery that submitted a petition for a small refinery exemption in each year.

-The name of each refinery for which a small refinery petition was granted in each year.

Press coverage has indicated the EPA has granted exemptions to several refineries for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years, including one of the nation’s largest. EPA has apparently granted Andeavor a hardship waiver for its three smallest refineries, while its profits last year were approximately $1.5 billion dollars. At least two other refineries with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual profits appear to have also been granted waivers.

“Large, profitable companies were not intended to be protected through the small refinery exemption,” Kovarik said. “The current absence of transparency is undermining both the intent and benefits, including jobs and rural economic investments, of the effective program.”

The RFS is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. The RFS originated in a bipartisan Congress with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

 
 
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