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Biodiesel body to urge EPA to account for waivers in setting blending mandate

Houston — The National Biodiesel Board is urging the US Environmental Protection Agency to properly account for small refinery exemptions, address the remand of the 2016 standards, and increase the 2021 biomass-based diesel mandate, the body said Wednesday in a statement.

The NBB praised EPA's proposal to estimate future small refinery exemptions when setting future blending mandates, saying such a step is necessary to ensure SREs do not destroy future demand for biodiesel.

But NBB called for stronger measures in ensuring the industry's future.

"On October 4, President Trump, the EPA and [US Department of Agriculture] jointly pledged to account for small refinery exemptions in the RFS [renewable fuel standard] annual rule and ensure that the biomass-based diesel volume is met. On October 15, however, the EPA proposed action that would significantly underestimate future exemptions and fall short of ensuring RVOs are met," said Kurt Kovarik, NBB vice president for federal affairs.

The body called on the EPA to use a three-year average of exempted volumes to form estimates of future exemptions.

"Unfortunately, the [EPA] proposal uses an average of past exemptions recommended by the Department of Energy rather than an average of actual volumes waived. Because the EPA has ignored the DOE's recommendations in each of the past three years, that methodology would only account for about half of the annual impact of recent small refinery exemptions," the NBB statement said.

The NBB claimed that more than 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels has been lost because of retroactive small refinery exemptions between 2015 and 2018, disproportionately affecting biodiesel producers. Biodiesel RINs can be used to satisfy multiple blending obligations under the RFS.

-- Jordan Young, jordan.young@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Kshitiz Goliya, newsdesk@spglobal.com