By Jessica Lyons Hardcastle, Environmental Leader.
The public comment period on the biofuel blending mandate ended yesterday.
Last year a group of oil refiners petitioned the EPA to change the “point of obligation” under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Under the current RFS rules, oil refiners are the parties obligated to blend more renewable fuel into the nation’s transportation fuel supply. The refiners want the EPA to change the obligated party from the refinery to the owners of the gasoline before it is blended for retail sale.
In November, the Obama administration’s EPA proposed denying the refiners’ request. But the final decision will be up to President Donald Trump’s EPA, now headed by Scott Pruitt. And the oil industry, which is central to the Oklahoma economy that Pruitt had represented as his state’s attorney general, is hoping for more sympathetic rules under the new leadership.
On Tuesday, as the RFS public comment period came to a close, a group of truck drivers, railroads, renewable fuel groups and fuel retailers, organized by the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO), told the agency that shifting the point of obligation downstream in the supply chain would undermine the purpose of the renewable fuel mandate and raise prices at the pump.