Trump Grants Two 2019 SRE’s as He Heads Out of Office

Trump Grants Two 2019 SRE’s as He Heads Out of Office

Pardons and commutations might be the most sensationalized of the last-minute acts presidents make but at least this year, there was another sneaky adjustment.  The Trump administration decided to aggravate the renewable fuel industry one last time as he exited office by going back on his word and granting two 2019 small refinery exemptions (SREs) amounting to 150 million gallons of lost biofuel demand.

The EPA had earlier indicated they would wait until the Supreme Court had reviewed the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that stated the EPA had acted improperly in handing out SREs since 2016. According to the ruling, SREs are an extension from one year to the next.  If a refiner had not received one in each of the preceding years, they were no longer eligible to receive one going forward.  In 2015, only seven petitions were granted. By 2017, 35 SREs were granted.

Data on the EPA’s SRE website indicates that EPA reversed one 2018 denial and granted one 2018 pending petition, which resulted in the additional loss of 110 million gallons of biofuel demand this year.

SRE petitions for 2019 amount to 32 received.  All were supposed to be on hold until after the Supreme Court review. However, two have now been granted.  There are 30 pending petitions for 2019 and 20 so far for 2020.  There are 65 pending petitions in total.  20 are gap year petitions where refiners are supposedly attempting show a successive chain of petitions from year to year.  Gap year petitions cover 2011 through 2018 and were all zero back in May of 2020.

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