Comments sought as United seeks exemption

Times Observer file photo by Brian Ferry Warren’s East End and United Refinery as seen from Washington Park.

When United Refining applied for a waiver from a Renewable Fuels regulation in December 2019, it expected some kind of decision in short order.

It has been more than a year, and a decision is still more than a month away.

“The Clean Air Act (CAA) mandates that transportation fuel sold or introduced into commerce in the United States contain minimum volumes of renewable fuel,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “EPA implements this mandate through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.”

Small refineries — those that produce less than 75,000 barrels per day — may apply for exemptions from the renewable fuels standards.

United’s average daily throughput is about 70,000 barrels, according to urc.com.

“The 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,” according to EPA.

In July, United filed a complaint in federal district court, alleging that EPA failed to take final action on its request.

A proposed consent decree would set a deadline of Feb. 19 for EPA to take that action.

Public comments are being accepted through Feb. 3 at www.regulations.gov regarding docket EPA-HQ- OGC-2020-0652.

All comments must include the docket number.


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