The EPA said it received the gap year SRE applications for RFS compliance years 2011 to 2018 following the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision earlier this year that said any SRE granted to an oil refiner after compliance year 2010 must be in the form of an extension to a previously obtained SRE.
As a result of the ruling, the legality of the SREs issued by the EPA since 2017 have come under the spotlight as they could not have all possibly been extensions. In 2017, there were 35 waivers given. In 2015, there were only seven waivers.
With scores of SREs hanging in the balance, 17 small refineries in 14 states submitted 68 gap year SRE applications.
The EPA said the Department of Energy submitted its findings on the 54 of the 68 applications in July and the former has since rejected all 54 applications. The agency did not say when it will decide on the remaining 14 applications.
It also did not say how it will treat current and future year SRE applications, nor did it address reports that it would seek to compensate the refineries that have been denied the gap year applications.