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Energy Department Recommends Granting Partial Retroactive Waivers

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made its recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding retroactive blending waiver requests.

Two sources report that the DOE recommended to the EPA that “a number” of those requests be partially granted. However, those anonymous sources couldn’t provide further details.

The EPA is in charge of granting those exemptions, but the DOE has to review the applications first and then make its recommendations.

One report says the move could help bring those smaller refiners into compliance with a court ruling earlier this year that requires waivers granted since 2010 to take the form of an extension.

Most waiver recipients in recent years haven’t continuously been granted those waivers. At present, there are 58 pending waiver requests from refiners for the years 2011-2018.

“EPA has received initial feedback from the Department of Energy on certain petitions for small refinery exemptions for the past compliance years under the Renewable Fuel Standards Program,” says EPA spokesperson Molly Block. “Our staff is reviewing it.”

The DOE didn’t respond to requests for comments. Biofuel advocates say the blending waivers hurt the overall demand for corn-based ethanol.