At the dismay of the ethanol industry, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued five new small refinery exemptions for 2017. The EPA is also being petitioned two grant two additional waivers for 2018. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor called the action a “slap in the face” to rural communities, noting that the new exemptions bring the total gallons of lost demand to 2.6 billion in 2016-2017. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper called the announcement “extremely disappointing and outrageous.”
Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, refineries must demonstrate each year that they have blended certain volumes of renewable fuel into the nations fuel supply. The EPA can issue the waivers to small refiners if they prove compliance would impose a “disproportionate economic impact” on them. However, the Trump administration’s EPA has issued and alarming number of waivers, and to refiners of all sizes, according to the ethanol industry. Ethanol industry groups last year filed lawsuits against the EPA regarding the misuse of small refiner exemptions.