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EPA plan would give small refiners more time to comply with RFS

Small oil refineries would have an additional six months — until this fall — to show they had complied with their obligations to mix corn ethanol into gasoline during 2019 under an EPA proposal published on Thursday. In a Federal Register notice, the agency proposed a compliance deadline of November 30, instead of the usual March 31, “in light of ongoing uncertainty” over its power to exempt small refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The “uncertainty” stems from a U.S. appellate court ruling nearly a year ago that would bar the EPA from issuing an RFS waiver to a refinery unless it had received a waiver in the preceding year. The ruling would greatly restrict issuance of so-called “hardship” waivers. The Supreme Court agreed last week to review the appellate court decision.

A public hearing will be held online on February 9, and the deadline for comment on the proposal is March 11, said the EPA.

It also proposed a January 31, 2022, deadline for all refiners to show compliance with the 2020 RFS. The delay is appropriate, said the EPA, because it has yet to issue the RFS for 2021. “We recognize the importance to obligated parties of planning their compliance for a given calendar year by understanding their obligations for the years before and after,” the notice said.

The Federal Register notice is available here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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