USW Fighting to Save Refinery Jobs

As USW Local 4-898 member Preston Scarberry from PBF Energy’s Delaware City Refinery explains in this interview with Rich Zeoli on CBS radio in Philadelphia, jobs at multiple USW-represented oil refineries are in danger because of market manipulation of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that should be easy to repair, and our union has called on the agency to defend these jobs by moving the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) point of obligation to where renewable fuels are actually blended into the fuel stock.

The EPA uses Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, to showing compliance with the RFS. The amount of RINs is limited, and the amount of biofuel blending needed to comply with the rule keeps going up. Because of this squeeze, and because speculators looking to profit off of independent refineries are manipulating the market, the price of RINs is subject to spikes. These price spikes create problems in the market and can turn a small refiner’s margin of profit into a loss.

Many smaller, independent refineries in the U.S. do not have enough or any on-site capacity to blend ethanol into their fuel products. USW-represented companies that cannot blend the ethanol themselves are forced to buy RINs from either other companies or Wall Street trading firms that have purchased RINs to resell. This has cost some refineries hundreds of millions of dollars, money which could have been used to upgrade and improve facilities but now is being diverted away from union refineries to Wall Street.

Leaving the point of obligation with refineries has the potential to drive smaller, USW-represented refining employers out of business. Scarberry explains how this will hurt our country’s ability to refine its own oil and impact thousands of family-sustaining jobs.

Listen to the full interview HERE.

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