An Entertaining 101 on Issues Impacting the Renewable Fuel Standard

I’m Shook! EPA Denies 36 Small Refinery Exemptions for the Compliance Year 2018

April 13, 2022

It seems like I’ve written a lot of articles on Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs). In my defense, there’s been a lot of material there. For example, last week EPA denied 36 petitions for SREs the 2018 compliance year. For a quick refresher, an SRE is a little bit of a “safe harbor” provision within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) regulations that excuses or waives the compliance obligations for a small refinery so long as certain criteria are met. First, the petitioning refinery (the refinery asking for the petition) must qualify as small under the regulations. Second, the refinery must have... Read More →

Breathe In, Breathe Out: EPA to Finalize 2021 and 2022 RVOs by June 3

March 9, 2022

How do you give a millennial incurable writer’s block? Tell them they’re on a deadline. EPA can relate to millennial angst where deadlines are concerned. Growth Energy recently reached a settlement with EPA requiring that EPA finalize the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2021 and 2022 by June 3. Growth Energy’s settlement terms (the “Settlement”) require EPA to sign the final rule for the 2021 and 2022 RVOs by June 3. Just a quick legalese sidebar, when a civil suit is filed and the parties reach an agreement prior to a final adjudication (the jury giving a verdict or dollar amount), the... Read More →

Pushing It Back! EPA Finalizes Proposal for Extension of Annual Compliance Deadlines

February 9, 2022

During law school, as far as my law professors were concerned, the word “extension” did not exist in the English language. You could ask for an extension and they would look at you like you had antennas growing out of your head and act like they’ve never heard the word before. EPA, on the other hand, not only knows the word, but uses it…with fervor… Recently, EPA finalized the proposal to extend compliance deadlines for obligated parties under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as well as the conditioning of deadlines on the release of Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs). More specifically,... Read More →

New Year, New Renewable Volume Obligations: EPA Releases 2021 and 2022 Proposed RVOs and Revised Final 2020 RVOs

January 12, 2022

Can we all just agree that New Year’s resolutions are really just well-intentioned suggestions rather than obligations? I could resolve to eat healthier and get more exercise, but carbohydrates and cheese make up about 75 percent of my being and my relationship with Netflix is well-established. EPA must have had a jump-start on its resolutions and finally resolved to release RVOs, among many other things. For this post, however, I am going to focus on the recent release of Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2021 and 2022, and the revised 2020 final volumes. Before I go any further, RVOs are... Read More →

17 More Days Until Christmas! How Compliance Deadline Move the RFS Forward

December 8, 2021

The month of December really transforms me into the living impersonation of the Christmas spirit. I decorate my house (and the office), make Christmas cookies, and listen to and sing all the Christmas songs on repeat…much to the chagrin of my coworkers. However, the one Grinch-like item that many people have to deal with this time of year is: deadlines. Whether it’s buying that last present or trying to get the numbers to the boss, everyone is dealing with a deadline. Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), obligated parties are required to retire RINs against their incurred Renewable Volume Obligations... Read More →

Get Ready, Get Set Go! EPA Sets Renewable Volume Obligations for 2023 and Beyond

November 10, 2021

I have two siblings, which means the phrase “ready, get set, go” gives me anxiety. Inevitably, one of my siblings would start before any of us and the game went steadily downhill from there. Similarly, EPA is currently on the “get set” phase of setting volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2023 and beyond…but isn’t jumping ahead of anyone. Just as a quick little reminder, for the RFS, the year 2022 Is. Not. A. Sunset. Date. *ahem* Now that we’ve got that out of the way, EPA is statutorily required to set the RVOs for 2023 and beyond... Read More →

Double, Double, Toil, and Trouble: EPA Has Yet to Release RVOs

October 13, 2021

It’s the month of Halloween which brings things like too much candy and slasher films, but it’s the thing that is still missing that may be the spookier thing. We are half-way through October and still, EPA has yet to release the Renewable Volume Obligations currently stuck in a black abyss that has to be located at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The release of the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) has been a long-awaited event that seems to never happen. Rumors fly like witches on broomsticks, but nothing seems to materialize. First, they were absolutely going to be... Read More →

I Take It Back! EPA Files to Reconsider 2019 SREs

September 8, 2021

Have you ever made a decision and then were like, uh, actually, wait, I didn’t mean that? I do this all the time. Some people call it being indecisive, I call it my prerogative, but we can agree to disagree right? In that spirit, U.S. EPA has recently filed a Motion to Remand without Vacatur with the D.C. Circuit Court to voluntarily reevaluate 31 Small Refiner Exemptions (SREs) that were granted in previous compliance years. For those of you who don’t know what an SRE is or how it applies to the industry, I have an article for you to read before... Read More →

I’m Late! I’m Late! For a Very Important Date! EPA Has Still Not Published the Renewable Volume Obligations

August 11, 2021

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “patience is a virtue,” I wouldn’t need to be employed. Personally, I think having patience is overrated as it is a virtue that I do not possess. While no one is really surprised by this, least of all my boss, many participants in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are running out of patience with EPA. As of the date of this article, EPA still has not released the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the years 2021 and 2022. As many participants in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are aware, EPA... Read More →

The Last Dance: SCOTUS Issues the Decision for the 10th Circuit Case

July 21, 2021

In its final pirouette of this last dance, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) finally ruled on Holly Frontier et al. v. Renewable Fuels Association et al. from the 10th Circuit. While the decision was not the sweeping win some Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) participants were hoping for, it could have been worse. As you might recall, the case before the SCOTUS centered on three refineries being granted Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs). To recap, here are the facts for each refiner that landed this case in the Supreme Court: Holly Frontier Cheyenne, LLC (“Cheyenne”): Cheyenne had been granted an exemption for the year 2012... Read More →