In a letter to President Donald Trump late last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf asked the administration to waive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for Northeast refiners “unless or until the prices of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) deflate,” according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
“Numerous studies—including some funded by the oil industry—show that merchant refiners recover their RIN costs at the wholesale level, while retail gasoline prices are unaffected by RINs. However, even if a refiner could show that RINs truly represent a cost that is not recouped, it could not demonstrate ‘severe harm’ to the economy,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “That’s because the Pennsylvania governor’s RFS waiver request doesn’t meet the very high threshold required by the statute and previously utilized by EPA in responding to similar requests. Section 211(o)(7) of the Clean Air Act allows a waiver if the EPA Administrator determines that implementation of the RFS requirements would severely harm the economy of a state, a region or the United States. Further, for a waiver to be granted, EPA must find that implementation of the RFS itself would severely harm the economy, not just contribute to such harm on one sector of the economy.”
In the letter, Reuters reports that Governor Wolf said, “The Northeast and specifically Pennsylvania will experience significant economic impacts” if RIN prices don’t go down, and “the nation’s refinery sector may be almost eliminated in this region of the country, negatively affecting the manufacturing sector, the Commonwealth (of Pennsylvania) and regional economies.”