RFA Statement on PA Governor RFS Waiver Request

Washington - In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) asked the agency to waive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the Northeast region to no more than 9.7% for the conventional biofuel requirement. 

In response, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen had the following statement:

“Gov. Wolf is prioritizing the failed business plan of an aging refinery ahead of jobs in the agricultural sector and reduced prices for consumers at the pump. 

Philadelphia Energy Solutions, one of two merchant refiners highlighted by the governor in the waiver request, could eliminate its Renewable Identification Number (RINs) costs by investing in ethanol blending infrastructure, as other merchant refiners have done, instead of unfairly blaming the RFS for its financial woes.

“As RFA has outlined in a fact sheet, Gov. Wolf’s waiver request overlooks a number of important realities regarding RIN credits and the gasoline market, factors affecting probability in the Northeast refining sector and the burden of proof associated with demonstrating ‘severe harm.’ 

When these facts are properly taken into consideration, it is clear that EPA has no choice but to deny Gov. Wolf’s request for a waiver of the RFS requirements.

“This waiver request doesn’t meet the very high threshold required by the statute. Section 211(o)(7) of the Clean Air Act allows a waiver if the EPA Administrator determines that implementation of the RFS requirements would severely harm the economy of a state, a region or the United States. 

Further, for a waiver to be granted, EPA must find that implementation of the RFS itself would severely harm the economy, not just contribute to such harm on one sector of the economy.

“The RFS has been an unmitigated success, bringing a cleaner, lower cost and higher octane fuel to consumers. 

For Gov. Wolf and refiners to unfairly blame the RFS for bad business decisions just isn’t right.”