Toomey calls on EPA boss to visit refineries
U.S. Sen Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to visit a Delaware Valley refinery to get a better understanding of the impact the Renewable Fuel Standard is having on local jobs.
Both Monroe Energy in Trainer and Philadelphia Energy Solutions have faced challenges meeting the RFS because of Renewable Identification Numbers. To reach compliance, merchant refiners such as Monroe and PES must purchase these RINs. PES spent about $218 million on RINs in 2017 alone. Since
2012 when they purchased the refinery, PES has paid
$832 million for these credits.
In the letter the senator sent Thursday, he explained the situation.
“Since its creation over a decade ago, the RFS has failed to accomplish the originally envisioned goals of tangible environmental benefits and improved energy independence,” Toomey wrote. “Moreover, the RFS has imposed financial harm on motorists, the broader transportation sector and domestic oil refiners.”
Toomey explained that the millions spent on RINs would otherwise go toward capital investments and the hiring of workers.
“The RFS picks winners and losers amongst sources of energy and has named merchant refiners, particularly those in the Philadelphia region, the losers,” Toomey wrote.
He wrote about the effects on the 1,600 workers at Monroe and PES.
“Unfortunately, high and unpredictable RIN prices threaten the financial well-being of these facilities and jeopardize their high-paying, blue collar jobs,” he wrote. “In fact, unsustainable RIN costs are the reason why PES declared bankruptcy earlier this year and although the company has since emerged from bankruptcy, failure to directly address high, volatile RIN prices in a future EPA rulemaking would subject refineries across the country to similar financial hardship.”
Merchant refiners like Monroe and PES are restricted from blending the ethanol into the gasoline themselves. Larger oil companies with integrated refineries have blending operations in other locations and that division of their company receives the ethanol credit while the refining portion takes a hit, resulting in a balance for the bigger companies.
PES filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January as a way to deal with the costs of these regulations that have increased tenfold in the six years since the Carlyle Group purchased the facility.