Greens, refiner find common ground in RFS fight
by Marc Heller, E&E News reporter
At first glance, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery might look like a target for environmental groups. It’s been hit with $2.1 million in penalties from U.S. EPA for Clean Air Act violations in a five-year period, and regulators have blamed the refinery for most of the toxic air releases in the city.
But as the refinery seeks bankruptcy protection, it’s got an unlikely ally: Mighty Earth, the environmental group headed by retired Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who helped write the air pollution law that Philadelphia Energy Solutions has been accused of violating.
The odd alliance is tied to the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS), which requires the blending of ethanol into gasoline. Each party dislikes the biofuel mandate for different reasons, but they have “legitimate common ground,” said Rose Garr, Mighty Earth’s policy director.
In an emailed news release titled “Enviro ‘sympathy’ for PES bankruptcy,” Mighty Earth cited an “interesting alignment” between the Philadelphia refiner and environmentalists on the RFS.