EPA Updates for More Renewable Fuel Transparency

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency updated the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program website this week to increase transparency surrounding the program.

The update has new data and information for both stakeholders and the public. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler says they want to be more open on small refinery exemptions and RIN trading. RINs are Renewable Identification Numbers, which lets refiners trade renewable fuel credits with each other.

Wheeler says in a statement, “Increasing transparency will improve implementation of the RFS and provide stakeholders and the regulated community the certainty and clarity they need to make important business and compliance decisions.”

However, Monte Shaw with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says there are still a lot of questions, "It's not just to know enough that there are 18 applications. Who's applying? What criteria are they basing this on? When they're approved, what was the reason for approving them? None of that is confidential business information."

The EPA says the data gives important information for renewable fuel producers along with fuel refiners and marketers and posting the date ensures protection of confidential business information.

Aside from giving the number of exemption petitions, the new information tells the weekly average price of RINs and the volume traded.

The agency says it is working on upgrading online systems to give easy access. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is hopeful the changes will put everyone on a level playing field. He says there is a great working relationship with Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler.

Shaw says despite giving more information, waivers continue to reduce gallons in the RFS, "All the transparency in the world is great and I want to see more transparency, but even if it was perfectly transparent, the fact of the matter is, if you're waving 1.5 billion gallons a year of these small refiner exemptions and you're either not reigning that in on the front end or you're not reallocating them to the RFS on the back end, then you're ripping the heart out of the RFS."

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