The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to issue partial waivers to some of the 39 refiners asking for a reprieve from the Renewable Fuel Standard. Reuters reports the EPA is set to decide on its pending 2018 exemption applications by the end of March, the compliance-year deadline under the RFS.
Officials close to the issue say the EPA seems likely to issue partial waivers, a move only made once by the EPA in the past. Expansion under the waiver program has angered farmers, as the waivers reduce ethanol demand. Just last week, reports showed ethanol consumption declined last year for the first time 20 years in the United States. Under the trump administration and then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the number of small refinery exemptions granted went from seven in 2015 to at least 34 in 2017.
The waivers are intended for small refiners, but the EPA granted waivers to facilities owned by billion-dollar oil companies, including Chevron and Exxon Mobil.