President Trump has named interim EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to the post permanently, and the biofuels industry in general sees that as a positive move. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper, calling it “probably a good step,” says Wheeler has been more open with EPA’s management of the RFS than his predecessor.
“We’re also very confident that Mr. Wheeler is not going to abuse the small refiner exemptions in the same manner that former Administrator Pruitt did.”
He says the EPA under Wheeler has done a good job of releasing more information about how small refiner exemptions are issued under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“One thing that Mr. Wheeler did right away was to release what EPA calls a dashboard which provides information to the public on small refiner exemptions and gives a little bit more information about how those exemptions are impacting the RFS program,” Cooper said. “It doesn’t go as far as we’d like it to. There’s still more information we’d like to see. We continue to work with the agency on that.”
Cooper says the EPA will likely release the 2019 RFS volume levels in the next couple of weeks and expect to see a robust level for ethanol under that, at least 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol, and “We’re very hopeful that EPA uses that rule as an opportunity to reallocate on a forward looking basis the small refiner exemptions that it knows it may hand out in 2019. And again, we’re under the impression and we’re hopeful that EPA won’t be issuing many of these exemptions at all.”
Wheeler will need to be confirmed by the Senate which confirmed him last April as Deputy EPA Administrator.