EPA: 52 “gap year” SRE petitions filed

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The Environmental Protection Agency released an updated list of small refinery exemptions that shows smaller refiners have filed 52 “gap year” SRE petitions. Those petitions cover Renewable Fuels Standard Compliance from 2011 through 2018.

Biomass Magazine says the filing is to circumvent a recent ruling from the Tenth Circuit Court that struck down three SREs approved by the EPA. The ruling also determined that the agency cannot extend exemptions to any small refinery whose earlier temporary exemptions had lapsed.

A challenge to the court’s decision was rejected in early April. If the ruling is eventually applied nationally, it will limit eligibility for future SRE petitions to a handful of the nation’s small refiners.

However, reports recently began to surface that several small refiners were filing “gap-year” SRE petitions to maintain eligibility for future SREs. The gap-year petitions are designed to provide impacted refineries with a continuous chain of SRE approvals, allowing the affected refineries to continue to be eligible for SREs in the future.

Several biofuel groups have strongly condemned the gap-year filings as an effort to get around the Tenth Circuit Court ruling.