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NBB calls on EPA to reform small refinery exemptions

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Representatives from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and its members have testified at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) public hearing on year-round use of E15 fuel and modifications to the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) compliance scheme.

The NBB and its members appealed to the agency to reform its practice of approving small refinery exemptions.

“EPA must change its practice of encouraging retroactive small refinery exemption petitions,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice-president of federal affairs at the NBB. “We ask that the agency use this opportunity to instead address the timing of small refinery exemption petitions.”

He added: “If EPA finds that it can easily propose a quarterly compliance deadline in the RIN reform proposed rule, the agency should feel just as comfortable applying a similar reasonable administrative requirement that small refineries submit petitions before the end of the compliance year.”

The following testimonies were also heard at the hearing.

Kent Engelbrecht, chairman of the NBB:

“We appreciate EPA taking claims of RIN market manipulation seriously. But because the agency has yet to see data-based evidence of such behaviour, we recommend that EPA not finalise the RIN reform portion of the proposed rule.”

Roy Storm, president and CEO of NBB member W2Fuel:

“To succeed, the biodiesel industry needs signals that allow us to forecast market demand. While the RVO should be the forecast, the current practice of granting retroactive small refinery exemptions undermines that signal.”

Chris Peterson, president of HERO BX:

“Unfortunately, EPA has not provided any evidence of RIN market manipulation to warrant any of its proposed reforms. The reforms themselves could further lead to market uncertainty and financial losses.”

David Cobb, director of federal affairs at the NBB:

“EPA acknowledges within its proposal that there is no evidence of RIN market manipulation to date. Rather than solve a problem, the proposed RIN system changes could potentially disrupt the RIN market and even undermine the RFS.”

The EPA granted an additional small refinery exemption on 28 March, bringing the total number of refineries exempt from US biofuel legislation to 35.