U.S. refining trade group pushes EPA to change biofuels program

Thu Aug 4, 2016 5:28pm EDT
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By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON Aug 4 (Reuters) - An oil refining group on Thursday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to change the way it enforces the country's biofuel mandate, stepping up pressure on the agency to alter the program.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) filed a petition urging the EPA to move the responsibility for complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) further downstream in the refining and distribution process.

"This is an administrative petition that we're filing to try to make the program better until Congress can step in and do what really needs to be done and that is repeal the program," AFPM President Chet Thompson told Reuters.

Thompson called the petition a "reasonable step" that would make the program "far more equitable."

AFPM and other oil and gas groups have long been opposed to the RFS, which sets the amounts of biofuels such as ethanol that must be blended into U.S. gasoline and diesel supplies annually.

They argue the mandates are costly for refiners and do not reflect actual gasoline demand, which has not risen as fast as lawmakers originally envisioned.

The RFS, which is managed by the EPA, currently requires oil refiners and importers to show they are blending ethanol and other renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel.

AFPM is asking that EPA make the owners of fuel at loading racks responsible for showing the mandated biofuels were blended.   Continued...