The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today urged EPA to reject the petition for a partial waiver of the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) submitted recently by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).
“Big Oil’s attempt to completely rewrite and redefine the statute pertaining to RFS waivers is just another shameless example of how far they’ll go to protect their market share and block larger volumes of renewable fuel from reaching the consumer,” RFA CEO Bob Dinneen said in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
“Not only do API and AFPM blatantly contort the meaning and intent of the statute,” he added, “but, as trade associations, they aren’t even entitled to file a petition for a waiver in the first place.”
The waiver calls for EPA to lower the overall 2014 RFS to below 10% of gasoline demand. Specifically, the petroleum trade groups want EPA to reduce 3.35 billion gal from the 18.15 billion gal RFS2 requirement for 2014, as originally envisioned.
The waiver is essentially trying to head off the so-called ethanol blend wall, the point at which 10% ethanol blends are maximized. Once that occurs, higher ethanol blends, such as E15 or E85, would need to be used instead.
The letter said that, “the petition from API and AFPM obscures the fundamental purpose and intent of the RFS,” which RFA said is to drive the production and use of renewable fuels beyond their traditional role as fuel additives.
“The need to move beyond E10 in 2014 for the purposes of RFS compliance should hardly come as a surprise to obligated parties,” wrote Dinneen, claiming that it was clear as early as 2009 that the E10 blend wall would occur in 2013 or 2014. “Unfortunately, many obligated parties chose to blatantly ignore the strong signals compelling them to begin preparations for higher volumes of renewable fuels and to increase investments in storage and distribution infrastructure.
“Now, the members of API and AFPM seek relief from their renewable fuel blending obligations, arguing that their failure to prepare for 2014 RFS requirements somehow merits reprieve,” he added. “EPA should not reward such blatant disregard for resoundingly clear policy signals.”
The letter concludes that the combination of increased E85 and E15 sales, carry- over RINs from 2013 and likely administrative adjustments to the 2014 advanced biofuel standard will allow obligated parties to meet easily their RFS requirements without adverse economic consequences.
“EPA should act swiftly to reject the petition submitted by API and AFPM,” Dinneen said. “The conditions outlined in the Clean Air Act under which EPA may grant a waiver simply do not exist.
“The RFS is working precisely as intended — EPA is exercising its authority to adjust annual blending requirements, RINs are sending clear signals to the marketplace to expand renewable fuels infrastructure and consumption and RIN banking and trading provisions are providing compliance flexibility to obligated parties. In short, oil refiners and importers should have no difficulty in meeting their 2014 blending requirements.”