NBB asks US EPA for transparency on ‘gap’ SRE petitions

By The National Biodiesel Board | June 02, 2020

The National Biodiesel Board delivered a letter June 1 to U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking that he disclose any small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions for Renewable Fuel Standard compliance years preceding 2019 that the agency received this year. NBB further asks that EPA apply the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s ruling in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA to all petitions submitted to the agency since Jan. 24.

“The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry values and relies on your commitment to transparency regarding small refinery exemptions,” NBB writes, referring to Wheeler’s creation of the EPA’s SRE dashboard. Noting that both Wheeler and U.S. DOE Under Secretary Mark Menezes responded to questions about “gap” petitions in May 20 testimony before two Senate committees, NBB writes, “It is concerning that no record of any of these petitions exists on the agency’s dashboard.”

NBB further writes, “EPA’s first step upon receiving any petition for a small refinery exemption should be to evaluate its timeliness and validity before transmitting it to the Department of Energy.” The letter lays out arguments that considering “gap” petitions would be inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit’s ruling, the RFS statute, and EPA’s own regulations and guidance. “Indeed, allowing gap filings would render the program entirely unpredictable for renewable fuel producers,” NBB writes.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs, said, “EPA’s small refinery exemption spree over the past three years undermined the RFS and destroyed demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel. The industry has been fighting for years to improve transparency and accountability around these handouts to refiners that come at the expense of small biofuel producers. We are asking EPA Administrator Wheeler to restore confidence in the RFS.”

A copy of the letter is available here.

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