Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper was surprised and angry when the Environmental Protection Agency waited until the very end of the day Friday to announce 31 more exemptions from complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard were granted to oil refineries, representing 1.43 billion gallons of additional lost RFS demand.
“We don’t understand how in the world EPA could agree with these refiners that they are somehow suffering economic harm due to the RFS when we’ve had RIN prices at historic low levels for the better part of a year and a half now,” said Cooper.
With a total of 85 small refinery exemptions (SRE) now granted by EPA, Cooper says that means four billion gallons of RFS requirements have been erased. “What that does is put the actual RFS requirements below the so-called E10 blend wall and completely takes off any pressure for the refining sector and blenders to expand into higher blends like E15 and E85,” he said.
In addition, the waivers will completely offset any gain the industry might have experienced from the approval of retail sales for E15 in the summer this year and puts additional pressure on the already stressed farm economy and biofuels industry resulting from trade disruptions and planting problems. “Things are not good in the Heartland,” says Cooper.
In this interview, Cooper also talks about what the industry is doing to fight back against what they believe is illegal action on the part of EPA.RFA CEO Geoff Cooper reacts to new waivers