Tesoro, EPA in talks on biofuel-credit scam
San Antonio-based Tesoro Corp. is working to settle Environment Protection Agency allegations that it bought fraudulent biofuels credits on a $2 billion trading market thatâ€™s emerged to meet federal clean-air mandates.
The EPA has accused Tesoro (NYSE: TSO) and more than 30 other refiners â€” giant Exxon Mobil Corp and Shell Oil Co. among them â€” of purchasing fraudulent credits under a system the agency oversees. While the EPA doesnâ€™t allege the refiners willingly engaged in fraud, itâ€™s still holding them accountable for buying from companies that sold credits for biofuels they never produced.
Tesoro is â€œworking cooperativelyâ€ with the EPA to resolve the matter, company spokeswoman Tina Barbee confirmed in a written statement. The company may have purchased 861,000 invalid biodiesel credits from Clean Green Fuels LLC, a Maryland company federal authorities brought charges against for generating bogus credits, according to EPA documents.
â€œSince its inception, Tesoro has complied with the requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard and is fully committed to fulfilling its ongoing obligations,â€ Barbee says. â€œTesoro looks forward to continuing to work with EPA and its colleagues on ways to ensure integrity and efficiency in the RFS.â€
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