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EPA to Deny Change in Biofuels Program
USAgNet - 11/11/2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it plans to deny several petitions from oil groups to start the process toward changing the country's biofuels program. Reuters reports that the EPA said it did not believe it should initiate a full rulemaking, as requested by multiple groups, to change the so-called "point of obligation" of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The RFS is a 2005 policy that establishes annual targets for the volume of biofuels that need to be blended with gasoline and diesel in the United States.

Valero Energy Corp, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), HollyFrontier and Monroe Energy have petitioned the EPA to consider pushing this obligation downstream, reducing the onus on refiners that have little to no capacity to blend biofuels at their operations.

These merchant refiners have said they are being squeezed by annual government mandates that require increasing volumes of biofuels. To meet them, they have been forced to buy paper credits in an opaque market, lifting costs.

The change the refiners are requesting "would not address the challenges associated" with boosting availability of advanced fuels and getting more ethanol into the fuel system, the EPA said in the statement.

EPA's decision to open a docket is a sign the issue is "serious and merits full consideration," a Valero spokeswoman said.

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