Triton Energy, LLC Clean Air Act Notice of Violation
The EPA issued Triton Energy, LLC (Triton) a Notice of Violation (NOV) on February 15, 2017. The NOV alleges that Triton generated about 39 million invalid D4 renewable identification numbers (RINs) between March 1, 2012, and March 31, 2015. The EPA alleges that about 98 percent of the RINs Triton generated during this time period were invalid because Triton failed to produce qualifying renewable fuel as required to generate the RINs. The EPA did not allege all of the RINs generated during this time were invalid because Triton produced evidence to show that a relatively small volume (about percent) of the RINs were generated for fuel that was used for a qualifying purpose.
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About 8.6 million of the 2012 RINs that Triton generated were not verified under the EPA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP) (See QAP rule). The EPA intends to present obligated parties who used these RINs for compliance purposes with administrative settlement agreements that generally will be consistent with the EPA’s interim enforcement response policies. The proposed administrative settlement agreements will exclude the small number of RINs (about 83,657) generated in 2012 that EPA does not allege are invalid.
QAP A RINs
The majority of the RINs identified in the NOV (about 28.2 million) were verified as A-RINs during the QAP program’s interim period. This period started on February 21, 2013, and ended on December 31, 2014, but allowed retrospective verification of RINs generated from January 1, 2013.
On February 15, 2017, via email, the EPA notified companies that own, used, or transferred potentially invalid Triton RINs that they may assert an affirmative defense pursuant to 40 C.F.R. § 80.1473. Under the regulations, parties are generally prohibited from transferring invalid RINs or using invalid RINs to meet the person’s renewable volume obligation. 40 C.F.R. § 80.1460 (b)(2) and (c)(1). However, companies who used potentially invalid A-RINs for compliance with an renewable volume obligation under § 80.1427, or companies who transferred potentially invalid A-RINs, may assert an affirmative defense for these actions.
QAP Q RINs
The EPA separately contacted parties who own invalid Triton Q-RINs generated in 2015 and identified in the NOV to inform them about the EPA’s allegations that these RINs are invalid and cannot be used for compliance.