RFS Waivers Questioned at Wheeler Confirmation Hearing

On Wednesday the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a hearing on the confirmation of Andrew Wheeler to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Wheeler has been serving as the acting EPA Administrator since Scott Pruitt resigned. While many of the questions and most of the media reporting on the hearing have focused on climate change issues, Wheeler was asked about the granting of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers under the “small refinery exemptions” category.

Some Senators raised concerns with the increasing number of waivers that were granted and questioned the eligibility of large oil and gas companies for small refinery waivers.

Wheeler indicated the agency could not deny a waiver to a small refinery based on its parent company owner. In response to questions about whether EPA intends to reallocate the waived gallons, Wheeler stated that he does not see a lot of leeway and reallocating waived volumes would adversely impact other refiners and potentially lead to more requests for economic hardship waivers.

ASA and our biodiesel industry partners are concerned with the issuance of waivers, the lack of transparency around the waiver requests and determinations, and the EPA’s reluctance to reallocate waived volumes.

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