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EPA, DEPT OF ENERGY SUED BY ETHANOL GROUPS OVER OIL REFINERY WAIVERS
Washington Examiner reports:

The ethanol industry hit both the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Secretary Rick Perry with lawsuits on Thursday over the dozens of waivers granted to oil refiners allowing them not to blend ethanol in the nation's gasoline supply.

Growth Energy and The Renewable Fuels Association, two groups that represent the ethanol industry, sued the agencies to get access to records detailing how the administration decided to grant refineries "hardship" waivers, exempting them from EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard program.

The EPA program requires refiners to blend an increasing amount of ethanol and other biofuels in the nation's fuel supply each year. The ethanol industry has said the waivers were done in secret, without the knowledge of stakeholders, and have resulted in billions of gallons of ethanol unblended.

The ethanol industry, farm groups, and others, are suing EPA separately for issuing the waivers, which they argue is illegal under the law.

Thursday's lawsuit also targeted Energy Secretary Rick Perry because EPA must consult with the Energy Department to grant a refinery waiver under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The hardship waivers were issued to help refiners reduce the cost of blending ethanol, which requires most refines to purchase expensive ethanol credits.

"EPA should come clean and provide the public with what it deserves - a full accounting of the stark increase in the number of small refinery exemptions it has granted in recent years," said Emily Skor, the CEO of Growth Energy. "We deserve to know why EPA has supercharged its approvals of these exemptions without reallocating lost gallons and making sure that RFS volumes are met each year."

Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen said that he does not understand why the agencies are withholding the information.

Dinneen explained in a statement that, as recently as 2016, the EPA proposed a rule to make basic information on the refinery exemption process made public.

"So, why is EPA continuing to hide this information from public scrutiny and protect both the previous EPA administrator and highly profitable refiners who probably exploited and abused the exemption provision?" he asked.

"Because EPA and DOE both ignored our repeated requests for basic information on the exemptions, we had no choice but to take this legal action," he said. "We will continue to fight and take every action necessary to ensure the RFS is implemented and enforced as intended by Congress."


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