NACS and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) sent a letter last week to the U. S. EPA urging the agency to reject waiver requests of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) this year, but to consider adjustments to the mandate in future years.
The letter was sent in response to the EPA’s request in August for comment on letters seeking a waiver of the RFS. In support of their petition, NACS and SIGMA argue that rejection of the waiver requests would avoid “disrupting business decisions premised upon the statutory volume obligations for 2013.” However, both associations said the EPA should consider lowering the RFS volume obligations for future years.
“The issues affecting the market this year may well be replicated in the next couple of years,” explained NACS Vice President of Government Relations John Eichberger. “While we do not support a decision that would disrupt the market this year, we believe strongly that the renewable fuels requirements in future years should be evaluated and the market be given as much flexibility as possible.”
The decision to urge rejection of the waiver request was not an easy one for NACS and SIGMA, who “weighed a number of sometimes conflicting values,” including the value of free markets (thus, the urge to oppose the RFS) as well as the assurance of market and regulatory certainty as prerequisites to long-term planning (thus, their decision to reject RFS waiver requests).
In balancing those conflicts, NACS and SIGMA concluded:
- Rejecting the waiver requests fosters certainty and recognizes market realities
- The EPA should consider downwardly adjusting future volume obligations to avoid the problems precipitating the waiver request
Such an approach serves to strike a balance between market reality and the desire to fulfill RFS objectives, NACS and SIGMA concluded. (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)