Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Todd NeeleyDTN Staff ReporterOMAHA (DTN) — The EPA broke away from Renewable Fuel Standard requirements for granting small-refinery waivers starting in May 2017 and continued to deny a congressional order regarding which refiners qualify, according to a 97-page brief filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.The brief was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by attorneys on behalf of the Advanced Biofuels Association. The group sued the EPA in response to it granting 48 small-refinery waivers in 2016 and 2017.In all, agency waivers reduced biofuel blending requirements for refiners by about 2.25 billion gallons in 2016 and 2017. Biodiesel industry officials estimate producers lost about 300 million gallons from waivers.The partially redacted document shows the agency originally was allowed to grant temporary, two-year exemptions starting in 2005. In recent years, however, the agency granted exemption extensions beyond two years — including a refiner that never received a prior exemption.The EPA approved waivers for small refiners that didn’t have the minimum U.S. Department of Energy score to qualify, the brief said, and improperly considered the debts of small-refiners’ parent companies when examining waiver requests.In addition, the brief showed evidence the agency considered small-refiners’ operating losses whether or not they were related to RFS compliance. The agency also considered what small refiners might spend on biofuel credits, without looking at revenue they would later generate from sales of Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs.The Advanced Biofuels Association asked the court to declare the agency’s methodology for determining disproportionate economic hardship as “unlawful.”The group asked the court to strike down the agency’s disproportionate economic hardship policy, based on a small-refinery’s operating losses or debts held on behalf of parent companies.Attorneys for the group also asked the court to declare “unlawful” the agency’s action to grant extensions of temporary exemptions that “were not continuously subject to a temporary exemption in all preceding years or that never received a temporary exemption.”When contacted by DTN, EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said, “We don’t comment on pending litigation.”PRUITT ACTIONSAfter former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took control of the agency, EPA said in a note on a May 4, 2017, final agency decision on a small-refinery request, that it had changed its approach, although it was not made public.“In prior decisions, EPA considered that a small refinery could not show disproportionate economic hardship without showing an effect on ‘viability,’ but we are changing our approach,” the brief said.“While a showing of significant impairment of refinery operations may help establish disproportionate economic hardship, compliance with RFS obligations may impose a disproportionate economic hardship when it is disproportionately difficult for a refinery to comply with its RFS obligations — even if the refinery’s operations are not significantly impaired.”BLANKET EXEMPTIONSTemporary blanket exemptions were recognized by Congress as possibly necessary for refiners that produce 75,000 or fewer barrels of crude oil per day and would face difficulty in complying with the RFS.“Many small refineries did not have infrastructure to be able to blend renewable fuels into conventional fuels and would therefore need to rely on the purchase of RINs to meet their RFS obligations,” the brief said.As a result, Congress granted all small refineries in operation at the start of the RFS program a temporary blanket exemption from compliance with the RFS program through compliance year 2010.“At the end of the temporary blanket exemption, however, small refineries would be required to meet the same renewable fuel obligations as all other refineries, unless their exemption is extended,” the brief said.Congress ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a study on whether RFS compliance would “impose a disproportionate economic hardship on small refineries,” the brief said. The temporary exemption period came about as a result of the study.The initial temporary blanket exemption covering all 59 small refineries through 2010 then gave way to a two-year extension of the temporary exemptions to only 24 small refineries identified by the DOE, the brief said.During compliance years 2013 to 2015, on average, just 14 small refineries asked for extensions of the temporary exemptions. During that three-year period, EPA granted 23 of the 43 petitions the agency received.In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53% to 95%.“While EPA at this time did not publish any information about the number of small-refinery petitions received or granted, the small-refining industry clearly got the message that the odds of receiving an exemption had dramatically increased.”To read the full brief, visit http://www.dtn.com/….Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.comFollow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN(CC/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
What’s in the bookThe book covers four main topic areas, beginning with “ground,” the connection of I-joist construction to a number of foundation types. There also are chapters on exterior wall assemblies; penetrations through walls, including windows, doors, pipes and wires; and roofs. Finally, there’s a description of the various materials that 475 sells.In each area, the book includes color-coded drawings with details on interior and exterior air sealing. Both the text and drawings emphasize the importance of controlling air leaks and moisture.If you’d rather have the book in hardcover form, it can be ordered for $35 with delivery scheduled for August. Readers also can download CAD files of details explained in the book for free.The book is a beta version, so readers may find a rough spot or two in the text. But 475 says it welcomes feedback and plans to offer additional books in the future.Since 475 is a retailer of materials used in high-performance buildings, such as sealing tapes and building membranes, readers shouldn’t be surprised that the book, a marketing effort by 475, promotes several brand-name products.475 co-founder Ken Levenson, an architect, is co-president of the North American Passive House Network and president of New York Passive House. A company specializing in materials for high-performance buildings has published the second in its series of ebooks on building techniques, this one focused on the use of I-joists.475 High Performance Building Supply offers its new book as a free download. The book follows the publication late last year of High-Performance Historic Masonry Retrofits.High Performance I-Joist Assemblies discusses modified Larsen truss construction for Climate Zones 4 and greater. It offers a short history of the I-joist — invented in 1969 for use in floors and roofs — before going on to explain how they can be used as structural and non-structural elements in the walls of high-performance buildings.Like its predecessor, this book also makes the argument for foam-free building assemblies. “Foam plastic insulation dominates high performance and green construction today,” the introduction says, “a clear victory of the power of chemical company marketing over common sense.”The book says that plastic foam insulation contains toxic ingredients, is a fire hazard, and can lose its thermal insulating properties over time. Instead, the authors make the case for cellulose, fiberglass, and mineral wool insulation.
Few Goa-based NGOs, political parties, including Congress, civil society groups and individuals will join a ‘people’s march’ led by social activist Rajan Ghate to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s private residence on Tuesday, to demand his resignation. “The march will be held on Tuesday, November 20,” activist lawyer Aires Rodrigues told the press at Azad Maidan, venue of the on-going hunger strike by Mr. Ghate. Mr. Ghate’s indefinite hunger strike to demand the resignation of of ailing Chief Minister to “improve collapsed governance in the State” entered fourth day on Monday.“Mr. Ghate will lead the march to the Dona Paula residence of CM Manohar Parrikar. The march will be attended by Goa’s NGOs, leading individuals and some political parties, including the Congress,” Mr. Rodridgues said. Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar confirmed his party’s participation in the march.Mr. Ghate has been on fast-unto-death for the last four days at the city square demanding that Mr. Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been unable to attend office for several months now, either resign or handover the charge of the government in public interest.Apart from the Opposition, which has been demanding his resignation for several months now, on Saturday some Cabinet Ministers from the ruling alliance also conceded while interacting with media that Mr. Parrikar’s prolonged absence from office had brought administration to a standstill.
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