NEW YORK—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will propose more time for refiners to show biofuel compliance, Reuters reports. However, the agency declined to issue decisions on pending requests for industry-submitted waivers.
The new compliance deadline for 2019 biofuel blending obligations will be Nov. 30, 2021, along with a June 1, 2022, deadline for submitting attest engagement reports. The EPA will also propose bumping back 2020 deadlines to January 31, 2022, and June 1, 2022.
"Because of the uncertainty both leading up to the March 31, 2020, deadline and of SREs going forward, we do not believe it would be appropriate to require small refineries to demonstrate compliance with their 2019 obligations pending ongoing appeals of the RFA decision,” the agency wrote in the notice. “We believe that it is appropriate to do so only for small refineries because it is only the compliance requirements of these parties that would be affected by the outcome of the RFA case. All other obligated parties' compliance obligations for 2019 remain the same regardless of the RFA decision.”
Refiners must annually give EPA credits to show their compliance with their yearly biofuel blending obligations related to the prior year. The agency will not rule on the availability of 2019 small refinery waivers, citing related current litigation.
The agency had halted compliance enforcement for some refineries for the 2019 compliance year because of the pandemic. “While we don’t agree that EPA needs to wait as long as it is proposing, particularly for the 2020 compliance year, we do agree with [the] EPA that the outgoing administration should refrain from any further action on the pending small refinery petitions,” said Geoff Cooper, president of the Renewable Fuels Association.