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EPA to recommend lower U.S. biofuel blending mandates below 2020 levels -sources

By Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw

NEW YORK, Aug 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to recommend to the White House lowering the nation's biofuel blending mandates below 2020 levels, in what would be a blow to the biofuels industry, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The EPA is looking to align mandates with actual production levels, which have slumped during the coronavirus pandemic. The mandates determine the amount of biofuels that oil refiners must blend into their fuel mix.

The EPA did not comment for this article.

Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the fuel mix, or buy tradable credits, known as RINs, from those that do. Refiners can also apply for exemptions to the mandates if they can prove the obligations would do them financial harm.

Mandates for 2021 have already been delayed by more than half a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

RINs have slumped in the last two days on market speculation surrounding the mandates. Renewable fuel (D6) credits <RIN-D6-US> traded at $1.42 each on Friday, down from $1.50 in the previous session, traders said. Earlier this week, credits were trading above $1.60. (Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy)

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