Policy Issues

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reducing RFS obligations by handing out exemptions to an unprecedented number of oil refiners. When the exemptions are granted retroactively, they reduce prior-year RFS obligations by hundreds of millions of gallons; the RINs returned to refiners are sold or carried forward, destroying demand for biofuels in the present year.

NBB has argued in Court that EPA has a duty to ensure the RFS volumes are made whole. In addition, NBB works with its members to advocate to EPA and Trump administration officials to ensure that the RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel are not reduced through these small refinery exemptions.

NBB also asks Members of Congress to exercise oversight and ensure EPA follows the law in granting small refinery exemptions.
NBB is monitoring EPA as it considers a record 38 retroactive small refinery exemption petitions for the 2018 RFS volumes. 
As our members communicate with Members of Congress, EPA and other Washington policy makers, the media, and the public, NBB works with them to amplify these points:

  • If EPA continues to hand out small refinery exemptions at the same rate as the past two years, it will reduce biodiesel demand by 2.54 billion gallons and cause a $7.7 billion loss for the industry, according to University of Illinois economist Scott Irwin.
  • Just one small refinery exemption can eliminate demand for an entire biodiesel facility. A “small” oil refinery can produce up to 3 million gallons of fuel per day. It’s annual RFS obligation for biodiesel is only 20 million gallons, which is more than some small biodiesel plants produce in a year.
  • EPA began freely handing out small refinery exemptions before receiving the Congressional directives and Court decisions they currently cite as justification.
  • EPA has ignored Department of Energy recommendations regarding whether small refinery exemptions are merited.

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