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Biofuel group asks for EPA RFS waivers to be frozen

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A federal judge was asked by a group representing multiple biofuel companies to force the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to freeze its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) small refinery waivers until lawsuits challenging its actions have been resolved, Reuters reports.

The group, named Producers United, is formed of several undisclosed biofuel firms.

It argues that the EPA has violated the standard when it provided retroactive biofuel credits to HollyFrontier and Sinclair Oil as part of a legal settlement.

This follows ongoing dispute over RFS waivers. In September, Biofuels International reported that the EPA was facing a lawsuit from Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) over the denial of agency records regarding the waivers.

Producers United however, is the first party to ask a judge to freeze the waivers.

According to Reuters, the EPA under President Donald Trump, has ‘greatly’ expanded its RFS waivers.

EPA data shows that RFS exemptions have increased from seven in 2015, to 16 in 2016 and 29 in 2017.

The EPA has stated that lawsuits form both HollyFrontier and Sinclair Oil forced an overlook of the waiver program and to whom it may apply to, but various biofuel groups (including Producers United) argue that it is politically motivated.

Both HollyFrontier and Sinclair Oil received waivers worth millions of dollars for plants in the state of Wisconsin to reverse the denial of RFS exemptions in 2014 and 2015.

Producers United argues that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to issue these retroactive credits, and the waiver program must be frozen in order to prevent disingenuous exemptions to refineries that do not deserve them.