House panel asks EPA for more RIN fraud investigation details

US House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders pressed the US Environmental Protection Agency for more details on its investigation into fraudulent biodiesel fuel credits. The credits, known as Research Identification Numbers (RINs), are part of the Renewable Fuel Standard mandated under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

Problems in the program, which is part of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard mandated by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, might be larger than the committee thought when it began its own inquiry in 2012, they said in a Feb. 7 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

“Since November 2011, the agency has identified no less than 140 million invalid or fraudulently created credits associated with biodiesel fuel,” the top Republicans and Democrats on the full committee and its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee said.

They asked Jackson to describe by Feb. 22 EPA’s current efforts to reduce RIN fraud, to reduce RFS abuse, to identify causes of a dramatic decline in RIN prices since July 2012 which may indicate fraud and abuse, and to implement a RIN quality assurance program that it announced last week.

Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Ranking Minority Member Henry A. Waxman signed the letter, along with Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Vice Chairman Michael C. Burgess (R-Tex.), and Ranking Minority Member Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).

Their action came a day after two other committee members, Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah), introduced a bill to force EPA to base annual cellulosic biofuel quotas on actual production instead of estimated projections. Three US Senate Republicans – Mike Crapo (Idaho), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), and David Vitter (La.) – introduced a similar measure on Feb. 7.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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