EPA sets alternative RIN retirement schedule for small refineries

By Erin Voegele | August 30, 2022

The U.S. EPA on Aug. 29 issued a final rule creating an optional alternative renewable identification number (RIN) retirement schedule for small refineries under the Renewable Fuel Standard for compliance year 2020. The agency action finalizes a proposed rule issued in June.  

The alternative RIN retirement schedule provides small refineries with additional time and a broader range of RINs to comply with their 2020 RFS obligations. The EPA proposed the alternative compliance schedule because the agency determined that there are extenuating circumstances specific to the 2020 compliance year, including a limited availability of RINs and the significant delay in EPA issuing its decisions on small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions.

Under the final rule, small refineries that elect to use the alternative RIN retirement schedule will have to fully comply with their 2020 RFS obligations, including any RIN deficits from 2019 carried forward into the 2020 compliance year, by Feb. 1, 2024.

The alternative RIN retirement schedule includes five quarterly retirement deadlines, spanning from Dec. 1, 2022 through Feb. 1, 2024.  Since the deadlines extend into the 2024 calendar year, small refineries are potentially able to use 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 RINs to satisfy a portion of their 2020 RVOs.

“EPA is taking this action because small refineries may need more time to plan for compliance with their RFS obligations given EPA’s delay in deciding [SRE] petitions and setting the associated compliance deadlines,” the agency said in the final rule.

A full copy of the final rule is available on the EPA website