The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On March 2, 2017, Congressmen Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) reintroduced legislation to expand the current Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver to include E15 motor vehicle fuel.  The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act aims to foster the development of a robust energy marketplace by offering the same regulatory relief that has been extended to E10.  Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to control the volatility of gasoline between June 1 and September 15 to limit vehicle emissions.  Congress permitted a RVP waiver for E10 due to its reduced emissions.  EPA, however, has continuously refused to extend the waiver to E15 despite its lower volatility compared to E10.  The bipartisan legislation would remove the restriction on the sale of E15 during the summer months and allow the fuel to be sold year-round.

Tags: RVP, Biofuel, EPA, CAA

 

On September 14, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Notice of Proposed Settlement Agreement; Request for Public Comment in the Federal Register. The notice is to settle lawsuits filed by Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company and Sinclair Casper Refining Company challenging EPA's denial of requests for extensions of small refinery temporary exemptions in August 2014. Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), small refineries are able to request an exemption of Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) Program blending mandates that would result in significant economic harm. The settlement allows the refineries to submit a request for exemption and EPA has agreed to make a decision on the request within 90 days. Comments are due by October 14, 2015.


 

On June 2, 2015, federal appellate judges decided that EPA's methodology for evaluating small refineries (those with crude oil throughput averaging 75,000 barrels or less per day) for exemptions from the RFS program was fair. Hermes Consol. LLC v. EPA, No. 14-1016 (D.C. Cir. June 2, 2015). Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA is allowed to exempt small refiners from the annual blending requirements if compliance would cause ''disproportionate economic hardship." There was a blanket exemption available for all small refineries in 2011 that expired in 2013. The case was brought by Hermes Consolidated, LLC, doing business as Wyoming Refining Company, a small refinery that applied for exemption from the 2013 renewable fuel blending requirements but was denied after EPA made mathematical errors while evaluating financial hardship. The court has ordered EPA to reconsider the petition from Hermes Consolidated, LLC, but has upheld EPA's overall methodology for conducting small refinery exception analyses.


 

As referenced in last week's Biobased and Renewable Products Update, EPA published a Proposed Consent Decree along with a request for comment in response to the Clean Air Act (CAA) lawsuit filed by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API). The decree will establish deadlines for EPA to propose and issue in final the 2015 RFS. Comments are being accepted until May 20, 2015.

Tags: RFS, CAA