EPA Penalizes Refiners For Failing to Use Fuel That ‘Does Not Exist’
Companies supplying motor fuel will have to pay approximately $6.8 million in fines to the Treasury because they failed to “mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel,” writes Matthew L. Wald of the New York Times.
However, the fine isn’t the worst part. The worst part is the fact that the refiners could have tried everything in their power to remain in compliance with standards set by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, and it might not have mattered.
Why? Because there is not enough of this “special type of biofuel” to go around. In fact, with the exception of some scattered workshops and laboratories, “the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist,” according to the Times report.
And the penalties go up next year. Remember that when you're paying over $4/gallon at the pump because the companies are going to have to come up with the cash for the penalties to pay those fines.
I ran into this type of situation with the EPA about 20 years ago with my old oil company. We had a customer with an underground storage tank that was old and leaking. We worked out a deal with the owner for a long term no interest loan to replace the tank as she only owned one well that produced about 3 bbls. per day.
It may be hard to remember, but the price of oil back then was around $8/bbl. and our crappy oil only got around $6/bbl.
This is where the EPA stepped in. In order for up to get the permits to replace the tank, we had to install some monitoring technology they wanted...problem was the technology did not exist.
So for another 15 years, when the company finally folded, the tank continued to weep.