Enforcement

Civil Enforcement of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program requires producers or importers of renewable fuel to generate fuel credits, known as Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), in proportion to the amount and type of renewable fuel they produced or imported. The RFS program also requires that non-renewable fuel refiners and importers, known as obligated parties, and renewable fuel exporters obtain valid RINs and retire those RINs each year by submitting them to the EPA.

Congress adopted the RFS program to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, help grow the nation's renewable energy industry and achieve significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

EPA is charged with developing the RFS program and enforcing its requirements. In order to protect the program's integrity and maintain a level playing field for regulated companies, EPA is pursuing enforcement actions against renewable fuel producers and importers that generated invalid RINs.

On January 31, 2013, the EPA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposed amendments to the RFS regulations. The NPRM set forth minimum requirements for a voluntary program to implement structured quality assurance plans (QAPs), and proposed to create an affirmative defense against civil liability arising from the transfer and use of invalid RINs that were verified under a QAP. In order to encourage the development and use of QAPs as soon as possible, the NPRM includes a proposal to allow parties to retrospectively verify RINs that are generated in 2013. The EPA implemented a Second Interim Enforcement Response Policy in order to encourage early implementation of independent third party QAPs.  On February 5, 2014, in response to an inquiry from the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the EPA extended the Second IERP to apply to invalid RINs that were generated and verified prior to the effective date of QAP Rule. See EPA Response to December 20, 2013, letter from American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and Amended Second Interim Enforcement Response Policy.

The EPA has also implemented an Interim Enforcement Response Policy for obligated parties or renewable fuel exporters who used the invalid 2010 and 2011 RINs identified in Notices of Violations (NOVs).

Notices of Violations:

Imperial Petroleum, Inc. and e-Biofuels, LLC NOV 

The EPA issued e-Biofuels, LLC and Imperial Petroleum, Inc. a NOV on December 18, 2013. The NOV alleges the companies generated more than 33.5 million invalid biomass-based diesel RINs without producing any qualifying renewable fuel and transferred the majority of these invalid RINs to others.


Clean Green Fuels, LLC

On February 22, 2013, Rodney R. Hailey, the owner of Clean Green Fuels, LLC, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for selling about $9 million in fraudulent Renewable Fuels Credits. He was also ordered to pay restitution of about $42 million to over 20 companies and to forfeit $9.1 million in proceeds from the sale of fraudulent RINs that he used to purchase a house, cars, and jewelry. Read more

On June 25, 2012, Rodney R. Hailey, was found guilty of wire fraud, money laundering, and violating the Clean Air Act in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The jury found that Mr. Hailey ran a scheme in which he and his company generated and sold over 32 million RINs, but neither produced nor imported any renewable fuel.

On November 7, 2011, the EPA issued 24 NOVs to companies who retired invalid biomass-based diesel RINs, generated by Clean Green Fuels, LLC, to comply with their renewable volume obligations (RVOs).

Please see the following list to view NOVs issued to each individual company.

Top of page


Absolute Fuels, LLC

On March 29, 2013, Jeffrey David Gunselman, the owner of Absolute Fuels, LLC was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for selling more than $40 million in fraudulent Renewable Fuel Credits. He was also ordered to pay more than $54.9 million in restitution, and fined $175,000. Read more.  In December of 2012, Gunselman pled guilty to an indictment charging 51 counts of wire fraud, 24 counts of money laundering and four counts of making false statements in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The EPA issued Absolute Fuels, LLC a NOV on February 2, 2012. The NOV alleges the company generated over 48 million invalid biomass-based diesel RINs without producing any qualifying renewable fuel and transferred the majority of these invalid RINs to others.

Top of page


Green Diesel, LLC

The EPA issued Green Diesel, LLC a NOV on April 30, 2012. The NOV alleges the company generated more than 60 million invalid biomass-based diesel RINs without producing any qualifying renewable fuel and transferred the majority of these invalid RINs to others.


In response to the NOVs, the EPA has entered the following administrative settlement agreements to resolve alleged civil violations arising from the use of invalid biomass-based diesel RINs.

Frequently asked questions about the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Top of page