The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to end the “secrecy” surrounding small refiner exemptions requested and issued under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out more.
“The EPA’s decision to grant upwards of 25 exemptions, with at least one significant waiver in the dark of night to a large and profitable refiner, raises urgent questions as to what else might be going on behind closed doors,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “Transparency and certainty are key to maintaining a competitive market for biodiesel, and it is critical we understand the impact any waivers could have on the industry and fuel choice for consumers.”
NBB is asking for specific information regarding the waivers, including the number of petitions for small refinery waivers received and granted going back to 2015, as well as the total volume of renewable fuel involved in those, and the names of all refineries that have submitted and granted exemptions.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) submitted a FOIA request to EPA last week asking for the same information, following news reports that the agency has granted small refinery waivers to large companies.
“Large, profitable companies were not intended to be protected through the small refinery exemption. The current absence of transparency is undermining both the intent and benefits, including jobs and rural economic investments, of the effective program,” Kovarik said.