Three sources cited by Reuters say that a decision was close to finalized regarding the small refinery exemptions (SRE) for 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations, but the issuance of these decisions has been held up by President Donald Trump. Following a trip to Iowa where Trump heard the complaints of farmers and ethanol stakeholders about how these “hardship waivers” were effectively chipping away at blending targets, the president ordered his cabinet to review the waiver program.
The White House could host a meeting next week on the topic that involves Trump, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Senators from oil and farm states, though that’s still up in the air, according to the sources.
The Department of Energy provided scoring results for 40 outstanding SRE applications for 2018 to EPA in late April. Two of those have been withdrawn or declared ineligible. EPA is required to make a decision within 90 days of receiving these, but White House involvement has left the agency in limbo.