In a virtual public hearing held today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Renewable Fuels Association opposed the agency’s proposed extension of the 2019 and 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard compliance deadlines. Former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the proposal just days before the swearing-in of President Joe Biden.
“To put it briefly, this proposal is one last attempt by the former EPA administrator to undermine the RFS on his way out the door,” said RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman. “One last favor to oil refiners. One last bit of contorted logic to justify actions contrary to the statute and even to common sense. All that this proposal does is to compound problems that the agency itself created under the former administration—the massive and illegal increase in small refinery exemptions and the failure to finalize the 2021 Renewable Volume Obligations by the statutory deadline.”
Richman pointed out how, in the case of the 2019 compliance deadline, EPA is actually seeking an extension of an extension; nearly a year has passed since the original deadline, and refiners are simply seeking to stall the inevitable. EPA’s continued delays have allowed those refiners who did not use a sufficient volume of biofuels to comply with their 2019 standards to instead buy RIN credits at historically low prices.
“This proposal is unwarranted, and the timelines it contains are excessive,” Richman concluded. “It is reasonable to assume that refiners were planning to meet the regulatory compliance deadline on March 31, and have had ample time to position themselves to do so. The agency should quickly reject the proposed extensions and re-establish integrity in its implementation of the RFS.”