The Environmental Protection Agency made a proposal to lower the number of biofuel credits that bankrupt oil refiner Philadelphia Energy Solutions must buy under the Renewable Fuels Standard. The nation’s biofuels groups are very concerned about that idea.
Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dineen feels a move like that could potentially set a very bad precedent and encourage other biofuels opponents to manipulate the process to get out of similar obligations. Dineen says the refinery’s regulatory requirements don’t just include the RFS, but there are other fuel regulations like reformulated gasoline, benzene, air toxics, detergents, vapor pressure, diesel, and sulfur content. “All of those contain similar liability requirements to ensure that environmental goals are reached, and with this potential move by the EPA, it puts all of those requirements equally at risk,” Dineen says. The EPA’s proposed settlement says PES is charged with retiring 138 million Renewable Identification Numbers.
Philadelphia Energy Solutions blames its bankruptcy on the high cost of RINs, but biofuels opponents have disputed those claims. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the Carlyle Group-backed firm shouldn’t get a free pass for pulling hundreds of millions of dollars out of the refinery, hurting its own workers. The settlement is open to public comments for the next ten days.