Trump administration considers aid to small refineries


Could government aid be coming for small refineries denied biofuels exemptions?

The Trump administration is considering at least $300 million in cash aid to U.S. oil refiners that are denied exemptions to U.S. biofuel blending laws for the 2019 compliance year, two sources familiar with the matter said reported Reuters.

The Wynnewood refinery in Oklahoma has been in the middle of the exemption fight after the Denver federal appeals court ruled against it and a handful of other small operators. Since the January ruling, the CVR Energy company, owner of the refinery, has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although the administration has yet to rule on the 2019 waivers, it has made an estimate for the amount of money it would provide in aid based on the number of facilities that applied for the exemptions but may now be considered ineligible because of a recent court ruling.

The move would be intended to help small refineries handle the cost of complying with the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, a law requiring they blend biofuels into their fuel mix or buy credits from those that do.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which has final say on waivers, did not immediately comment.

A spokesperson for the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, which represents U.S. refining companies, said the industry did not support the plan: “If the Administration truly wants to make things right with refiners, they need to prioritize making the RFS less expensive so it’s not a threat to good manufacturing jobs.”

The financial relief could come from funds within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, five sources familiar with the matter said. It was not clear when the aid would be distributed.

Under the RFS, small refiners that can prove compliance would cause financial harm can apply for exemptions. The Trump administration has quadrupled the number of exemptions given to refiners, angering biofuel producers and farmers who say the waivers dent demand for their products.

Source: Reuters