Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler told Reuters in an interview that his agency may grant fewer waivers to small refineries going forward, as he noted that prices for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) have dropped, lowering the cost of compliance.
“The RIN prices have been relatively low and relatively calm since last spring so that would tell me that there should be less economic harm in the refining industry right now than there was a year ago," Wheeler said.
He says the agency should receive recommendations from the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding what pending applications should be granted by week’s end. He did not say when decisions on those exemptions would come.
Thirty-nine refineries have requested waivers for the 2018 compliance year. In 2017, EPA approved 35 of the 37 items; one is still pending and another was withdrawn or declared ineligible.
Meanwhile, Senator Grassley is seeking information from the DOE on how it scores applications from small refineries seeking waivers from their Renewable Fuel Standard blending obligations.
Also, Wheeler says EPA is on track to finish its rule permitting year-round sales of higher ethanol blends by June.