Fuels Blending & Related Enforcement Issues

Attorneys at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP have years of experience working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Fuels Program, including members of the Fuels Enforcement Program based blocks away from the firm in Denver, Colorado. We are well situated to manage, negotiate, and resolve enforcement proceedings and associated business issues related to conventional and reformulated fuels.  DGS’s expertise has fostered excellent working relationships with representatives of the EPA Fuels Program, and DGS attorneys have unique insight into agency enforcement practices and priorities.  DGS has a wealth of knowledge and experience in handling a broad array of compliance, transactional, and enforcement-related matters pertaining to fuel and fuel additive registration, specifications, production and distribution, and other operational issues, including product storage, transportation, and blending at refineries and terminals; and advising refiners and blenders on development and implementation of affirmative defense programs intended to demonstrate compliance with EPA’s fuels regulations.  We also represent a number of large and small refineries, product terminals, and fuel retailers who are engaged in fuels production and/or distribution. Audits and Regulatory Compliance Counseling EPA’s fuels regulations are extremely technical, nuanced, and often changing.  To ensure compliance with applicable requirements, DGS manages and leads audits of facility operations and ultimate fuel products in order to promote successful and sustainable business practices for our clients.  Where audits highlight practices that could use improvement or require corrective action, we assist our clients to develop and implement robust affirmative defense programs that demonstrate to the agency that the fuel product has been tested and produced in accordance with all applicable requirements, and, where necessary, we help our clients navigate federal and state self-audit programs that often reward the prompt and voluntary disclosure of potential violations with a reduction in or elimination of fines or penalties. Enforcement Proceedings Interaction with the enforcement arm of the EPA Fuels Program can be daunting, whether it be in the form of a Notice of Violation from EPA, receipt of a Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 114(a) information request concerning a client’s compliance with the fuels regulations, or enforcement proceedings born of the same.  DGS has assisted its clients by successfully negotiating for supplemental environmental projects instead of penalties; working with members of the Fuels Program to scale back the number of documents requested by EPA pursuant to a CAA § 114(a) information request; and submitting multiple voluntary self-disclosures to federal and/or state entities on behalf of refinery clients in order to establish a cooperative, effective path forward for resolution of potential fuels violations. Representative Experience

Representing an oil company in settling one of the largest EPA Fuels Program’s enforcement proceedings in the history of the Fuels Program Assisting refineries and associated fuel distribution terminals audit compliance with EPA’s fuels regulations, particularly as related to Reid vapor pressure requirements, sulfur and ethanol content, and benzene standards under the Mobile Source Air Toxics (MSAT) Rule Interacting with EPA on behalf of refineries to negotiate settlement of issues related to product specifications, fuel testing and sampling requirements, and compliance with the renewable fuels standard (RFS1 and RFS2) regulations Addressing legal questions and requirements concerning fuels or fuel additives, including those not considered to be “substantially similar” to existing fuels or fuel additives Advising fuels distribution terminals on the development of internal programs and policies that promote and provide affirmative defenses to alleged violations of the fuels regulations related to fuel product quality, testing, etc. Assisting fuels manufacturers with fuels-related self-disclosures to EPA under EPA’s self-audit policy and to states under similar state counterparts Working with  producers of refined fuels and additized gasoline to respond to CAA § 114(a) information requests related to multiple years of blending and distributing refined oil products Auditing a mobile fueling company’s product transfer documents (PTDs) for compliance with federal and state requirements for transfers of conventional and renewable fuel and developing revised PTDs related to the same Working with a large refinery client to settle an enforcement action concerning use of allegedly invalid Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and providing advice related to a RIN Integrity Report required as part of the settlement


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Laura J. Riese

Partner, Environmental Law & Litigation, Natural Resources & Environmental Litigation, Toxic Tort Litigation, Safety & Health, Brownfields Redevelopment, Fuels Blending & Related Enforcement Issues, Upstream Oil & Gas, NEPA, CERCLA & State Equivalent Programs, Crisis Management
303.892.7454

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