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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director for Government Relations
|Renewable Fuel Standard and Small Refinery Exception
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been successful in the terms of making fuel more affordable for millions of Americans, helping to generate jobs, and reducing oil imports. However, it is also overly burdensome to ASA members who have small refineries.
Under EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, a small refinery may be granted a temporary exemption from its annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) if it can demonstrate that compliance with the RVOs would cause the refinery to suffer disproportionate economic hardship.
The Clean Air Act (CAA) mandates that transportation fuel sold or introduced into commerce in the US contain minimum volumes of renewable fuel and the EPA implements this mandate through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. RFS regulations require obligated parties (fuel refiners and importers) to satisfy the volume obligations: by blending renewable fuels into their gasoline or diesel fuel products, or by acquiring credits that represent the required renewable fuel volume.
The CAA includes a temporary exemption from renewable fuel volume obligations for small refineries. Small refineries seeking exemption must petition EPA. The (SRE) exemption may be granted only if EPA determines, based on supporting evidence provided in the petition that "disproportionate economic hardship" exists for the refinery in the year for which exemption is requested. The RFS regulations define a small refinery as one with an average crude oil input no greater than 75,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude in 2006. Additionally, the small refinery may not have an average aggregate daily crude oil throughput greater than 75,000 bpd in the most recent full calendar year prior to submitting a petition, and cannot be projected to exceed the 75,000 bpd threshold in the year or years for which it is seeking an exemption.
The EPA issued a proposed rule under the RFS program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2020, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume standard for calendar year 2021. EPA is proposing an advanced biofuel volume requirement for 2020 of 5.04 billion gallons, which is 0.12 billion gallons higher than the advanced biofuel volume requirement for 2019. You can find a full chart of the volume standards here.
Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2019. This legislation seeks to provide more certainty for rural America by bringing transparency and predictability to EPA’s small refinery exemption process. The bill would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1st of each year. This change would ensure that EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations it sets each November.
In the past, EPA has issued small refinery exemptions after the Renewable Volume Obligations have already been determined. That’s unfair, and it hurts ASA members with small refineries. This bill would shine a light on what’s been an obscure exemption process and help promote economic growth in rural America. Please stay tuned for updates on this bill.
In other news, ASA Advocacy has launched a grassroots campaign to help urge Congress to pass the United States Mexica Canada Agreement. Please click here to send a letter to your Representative and Senators to get this agreement passed ASAP!
As always, ASA Advocacy is YOUR voice in D.C. and on The Hill. Please contact Catherine Treadwell Perry, Director of Government Relations at email@example.com to let us know what regulatory and legislative issues your company may be experiencing.
- Attorney General William Barr said he sees a path toward legally requiring 2020 census respondents to answer a citizenship question after a recent Supreme Court decision blocked its inclusion on the decennial survey. Experts at the Census Bureau have said requiring such information would discourage immigrants from participating in the survey, but a senior official said President Donald Trump is expected to issue a memorandum instructing the Commerce Department to include the question on census forms anyway. (The Associated Press)
- Independent Rep. Justin Amash formally left the House Republican Conference days after he announced his intention to leave the party following backlash over his call to begin an impeachment inquiry into Trump. Amash, now the only independent lawmaker in the House, also resigned from the House Oversight and Reform Committee, something that would have happened automatically if Republicans removed him from their caucus. (Politico)
- President Donald Trump said in a tweet that the United States would "no longer deal" with British Ambassador Kim Darroch after diplomatic cables were leaked in which he described Trump as "inept" and the White House as "dysfunctional." Earlier, a spokesman for outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May said Darroch retained her "full faith," but there is speculation in British political circles that the leak might have been designed to push him out so he could be replaced by someone more to Trump's liking when the new British prime minister forms a government. (The Washington Post)
- President Donald Trump's previously reported order to Cabinet officials to review the administration's provision of waivers from Renewable Fuel Standard blending requirements is delaying a federal decision on 40 pending exemption applications covering the year 2018, according to three people familiar with the issue. Two sources said while no decision has yet been made, the White House might hold a meeting this week on the issue with federal and congressional stakeholders.
- The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, that would protect military families from the threat of lead exposure in their homes. This legislation, previously introduced by Congressman Kildee, is now a part of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2020, which passed the House 220-197. (Congressman Kildee)
- Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath, who ran unsuccessfully against Republican Rep. Andy Barr last year, has launched a campaign to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020. In a national TV interview discussing her candidacy, the retired Army pilot - whom Republicans labeled as too liberal for the Blue Grass State in 2018 - described herself as a moderate, expressing opposition to taking away private insurance as part of a federal health care overhaul and subsidizing health insurance for undocumented immigrants. (Louisville Courier-Journal)
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) announced he is ending his bid for the Democratic nomination for president, making him the first 2020 Democratic contender to drop out of the race, and will instead run for re-election to the House. Swalwell said he did not know yet which candidate he would endorse. (USA Today)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign said it raised $19.1 million in the second quarter of the year, even though it had no fundraisers. The total - more than three times the Massachusetts Democrat's first-quarter haul - surpassed the amounts raised by Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California, and came close to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently leading the polls in the race for the Democratic nomination. (Politico)
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), along with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), are expected to introduce a resolution today that pushes for a "mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive-scale" to address "the climate emergency," according to a draft of the resolution. The effort comes after the introduction in February of the Green New Deal resolution, which moderate House Democrats have been hesitant to support. (Bloomberg)
- Twenty-four governors of U.S. states and Puerto Rico, including Republicans Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont, are calling on the Trump administration today to stop moving forward with its freeze on federal fuel economy standards and to allow California to set its own vehicle emissions regulations, according to a draft joint statement. Participants in the pressure campaign say they represent 52 percent of the U.S. population. (The New York Times)
- In New Orleans, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear oral arguments today regarding whether a lower-court ruling that found the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional should be overturned. Recent questions about whether the Democratic states and House of Representatives - who are defending the ACA - have standing to intervene will likely be addressed at the onset. (The New York Times)
- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed into law legislation that would implement a state-based exchange to replace the federal ACA insurance exchange in Pennsylvania in an effort to cut costs and improve access to affordable insurance. The exchange and new reinsurance fund, which need approval from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, are expected to reduce premiums by as much as 10 percent, and residents could begin using it to enroll in plans for January 2021. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Former Vice President Joe Biden will introduce a health care plan that will build on the Affordable Care Act and enact a new federally run public health insurance option, extending premium-free coverage to the roughly 5 million Americans living in states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Biden's presidential campaign estimates the plan, which would also empower the government to negotiate prices for drugs covered by Medicare, will cost $750 billion over 10 years, and has proposed funding it in part with a wealth tax. (Politico)
- The United States might not be able to pay its bills as early as the first half of September, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a faster-approaching deadline than the group's previous estimate of October or early November. The Bipartisan Policy Center moved up its so-called X date because of weaker-than-expected revenue. (The Wall Street Journal)
- Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton called criticisms of the agency's Regulation Best Interest rule "false" and "misleading." Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) have claimed that the new rules will lower the fiduciary duty for investment advisers, a point that Clayton challenged. (Bloomberg)
- The House and Senate are in session this week.
- Tuesday, ASA Advocacy will be meeting with Rep. Jim Langevin’s (RI-02) office to discuss the need for a transportation workforce
- Wednesday, ASA Advocacy will be on The Hill with the National Association of Manufactures to urge Congress to pass the USMCA.
- Thursday ASA Advocacy will be attending the High Performance Building Coalition monthly meeting.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
Update on State Bills Being Tracked
HB07373 (CT) - Signed by Governor. An Act Concerning The Department Of Revenue Services' Recommendations For Tax Administration And Minor Revisions To The Tax And Related Statutes.
New State Activity
No new activity
The New York Times
Reviewing new polling data, consultants working for President Trump’s 2020 campaign discovered an unsurprising obstacle to winning support from two key demographic groups, millennials and suburban women. And that was his record on the environment. But they also saw an opportunity. While the numbers showed that Mr. Trump was “never going to get” the type of voter who feels passionately about tackling climate change, a senior administration official who reviewed the polling said, there were moderate voters who liked the president’s economic policies and “just want to know that he’s being responsible” on environmental issues.
The New York Times
A bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would lift 1.3 million people out of poverty but also put an estimated 1.3 million Americans out of work, the Congressional Budget Office projected recently. The report, which projected higher pay for at least 17 million workers, is likely to fuel both supporters and critics of a House bill that could be voted on as early as next week.
The Wall Street Journal
Top American and China negotiators are set to speak this week in an effort to revive stalled trade talks, as discord over prior commitments and political considerations threaten to bog down discussions. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at the Group of 20 leading economies meeting in Osaka, Japan, in June to formally resume talks. Yet people following the process say that the issues that snagged talks two months ago remain.
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