EPA’s Wheeler says he has questions about SRE gap waiver applications

The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency says the gap year Small Refinery waiver applications are now back at his agency for review.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the gap SRE applications have been sent over from the Department of Energy. “They just started sending them to us the week before last, so our guys are just now starting to look at them.” 

Farmers and biofuel producers have been trying to find out where the Trump Administration is with the controversial gap year applications by the oil industry. Renewable fuels advocates say the courts have ruled in their favor on Small Refinery Waivers, and the gap year applications should not be considered at all.

Wheeler says the applications can be submitted “at any time” and the law requires the applications to go through both agencies. The Administrator says it is unclear when or if those waivers will be approved because it is very complicated, and he has questions. “There are some questions that I personally have, as, how can you prove an economic harm in 2012 if you’re still in existence today? Then we also have to look at what the remedy is because the appropriate remedy would not be to give people current year RINS for something from 2012 or 2013.”

When asked if the waiver application reviews will be done before the
election, he says, “I’m not sure how long it’s going to take us to review

Wheeler also hesitated to say when EPA will finalize the 2021 Renewable Volume Obligations because of COVID-19. “You have the impact on the

refining sector. You also have the impact on the ethanol sector. There’s a
number of ethanol plants that have shut down as well, so we have to factor all of that in.”  Wheeler says Marathon also shut down two refineries recently.  The Administrator says EPA did send a package to the Office of Management and Budget for review a few months ago, but he says the entire landscape has changed since then, and the agency started working on RVO rules before COVID-19 hit.

Wheeler met with farmers, State FFA leaders, and Brownfield at Deer Run Dairy near Kewaunee, Wisconsin Tuesday afternoon, where he toured the dairy operation and a manure digester that’s being converted from electrical generation to supplying the natural gas market.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler takes questions from A State FFA officer and Brownfield’s Larry Lee during a Wisconsin farm tour 8/11/20
  • Just to be clear, don’t get your hopes up. It seems to me that the EPA is the Single Biggest Obstacle to Biofuel Growth in America.

    One thing the EPA has consistently been willing and able to prove, things can always get worse for Biofuels!

    So, how do they Love Us, let’s count just some of the ways.

    1. Phony “Match Blending” Fuel Testing, that loads Ethanol Test Blends up with Heavy Polluting Aromatic Hydrocarbons, to Increase measured fuel emissions. Blame the increased emissions on ethanol, when everyone knows it’s the Extra Aromatic Hydrocarbons that were added in. In the “REAL WORLD”, which EPA could care less about, Ethanol REDUCES the use of HEAVY AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS and the pollution they bring. EPA doesn’t dare test that, or acknowledge it, because it would show the true emission Superiority of Ethanol Blends.

    2. EPA’s Mobil Emissions Model, that States are Required to use for climate modeling, penalizes ethanol blends with inaccurate factors and multipliers in their equations, painting ethanol as detrimental to air quality. Surprised?

    3. For years EPA Restricted the summertime sale of E-15 Fuels, even though E-15 actually has a LOWER VAPOR PRESSURE and Emissions than their year-round permitted E-10 Fuel. EPA Restricted a better fuel that lowers cost. Surprised?

    4. When President Trump finally forced EPA to give in on year-round use of the Superior E-15 Fuel, EPA made sure they added restrictions on the sale of higher ethanol blends. So, what EPA supposedly gave with one hand, they made sure they took away with the other. Again Surprised?

    5. When EPA promised to account for lost Biofuel Gallons from their past Refinery Waivers, they played a Bait-and-Switch game. Only accounting for the Waivers “recommended” by the Department of Energy, not the MUCH HIGHER ACTUALL WAIVERS THE EPA GRANTED. If you feel CHEATED, you were, BIG TIME, by a crooked to the core EPA. Again Surprised?

    6. On the 10th Circuit Court Ruling disallowing previous EPA Waives to three Refiners, EPA has figured out a way to escape the Power of the Court ruling, for all Small Refiners. GAP YEAR WAIVERS! Is there no end of the SLIME at the EPA? Probably not without Congressional Action.

    7. Should we talk about Carbon Emissions? EPA refuses to update their out of date carbon models for Biofuels. If they did, it would be good for Biofuels and Bad for Oil, so EPA is not interested. But EPA just Relaxed Methane Emission Regulations for the Oil industry. And methane emissions are supposedly much worse for the environment than C02 emissions. So, go figure.

    Sorry, I don’t put much hope in anything Wheeler has to say for Biofuels. He’s the guy that did the Bait and Switch on the Waivers! One thing EPA has always proved, things can always get worse for Biofuels.

    We better appreciate and enjoy the terrible fuel market we currently have, before EPA makes it much WORSE, with their “GAP YEAR REFINERY WAIVERS,” to circumvent the RFS and the recent 10th Circuit Court Ruling.

    EPA is going to prove, the 10th Circuit Court Ruling isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, not with our EPA.

    Perhaps we should DEFUND the EPA.


    Thomas Blazek

  • EPA is not a friend of farmers nor a friend of the ethanol industry. Just look at the past rule makings by EPA and you will see EPA putting ethanol in a box and then turning on the heat lamp.

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