By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
A decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deny requests by small oil refineries to be considered exempt from renewable fuel standards will hurt energy workers, U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi said Monday.
Enzi, in a news release, criticized the decision of EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to deny requests from 17 refineries, including some in Wyoming, to either reconsider their requests for exemptions from the rules or apply those exemptions to the years from 2011 to 2018.
“I’m disappointed in the EPA’s denial of these important small refinery waivers,” Enzi said in the news release. “The Renewable Fuel Standard program is in many ways a broken system, and exemptions are necessary for our small refineries to compete on a level playing field.”
The Renewable Fuel Standard program sets levels of renewable fuels such as biofuels to be included in gasoline and diesel.
When the program was launched small refineries — those producing 75,000 barrels of fuel a day or less — were exempted from the rules if they could prove that obeying those rules would “impose a disproportionate economic hardship” on them.
In March, the 17 small refineries in Wyoming and 13 other states asked the EPA to either reconsider its denials of exemptions they had requested between 2011 and 2018 or grant them retroactive exemptions for the same period even if they did not request the exemptions.
The request was denied because Wheeler said the refineries failed to prove the requirements of the program would impose an undue economic burden on them.
Refineries have argued without the exemptions, it is too expensive for them to produce fuels that meet the renewable fuel standards.
Enzi said in his release the decision would create negative impacts on the oil industry.
“This decision could hurt many energy workers in Wyoming and across the country,” he said.