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June 28, 2019

Cabinet To Review RFS Small Refinery Waiver Programs

Lynn L Bergeson

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 20, 2019, Reuters reported that President Trump directed members of his Cabinet to review EPA’s expanded use of waivers exempting small refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This decision came after Trump traveled to the Midwest to promote the Administration’s decision to lift a ban on summer sales of E15 and farmers warned that increases in smaller refinery exemptions functionally negated the expected benefits of E15 sales. RFS has become increasingly controversial as environmental activists argue that the government should phase out incentives for first generation biofuels derived from food biomass like corn ethanol in favor of second and third generation biofuels that use non-food waste and algae to produce biofuels. For now, EPA has delayed action on 39 pending small refinery waivers from 2018, and has said in a statement that the “EPA will continue to work with the White House, USDA, members of Congress and other stakeholders to ensure the Renewable Fuel Standard’s continued stability.”