President Signs Bill Calling for Rerefining Study

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President Donald Trump signed into law on Dec. 21 a bill calling on Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to revamp a study about rerefining of used lubricating oil.

Sponsored by U.S. Representative Susan Brooks (R-IN), House Resolution 1733 aims to delve into the environmental benefits and cost-effectiveness of rerefining.

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The bill would set goals of increasing responsible used oil collection, informing the public of sustainable reuse options for used oil, and promoting sustainable reuse of used oil by federal agencies, recipients of federal grant funds, entities contracting with the federal government and the general public.

Working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Secretary of Energy would need to review and update the original study within a year of the date of enactment.

Published in October 2006, the original study concluded that quality rerefining equipment was too expensive compared to the slim returns, causing the U.S. to lag behind several European countries in its use of recycled lubricants. The studys authors, however, noted that they were unable to conduct original research and relied on dated information due to time constraints. Statistics on rerefining rates in the U.S., for example, came from a 1995 report, and the study cited 2002 figures on recycled oils for the European Union.

The used oil rerefining industry in the U.S. has expanded greatly since that time. Last year the U.S. had capacity to produce about 150 barrels per day of API Group I rerefined base oil, 14,600 b/d of Group II rerefined oils and 400 b/d of Group III rerefined oils, according to the LubesnGreases 2018 Guide to Global Base Oil Refining.

Introduced in late March 2017, the bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Dec. 12 that year, and the U.S. Senate received the bill on Dec. 13. In the Senate, the bill was sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

No further action took place until Dec. 20 last month, when the Senate committee discharged the bill by unanimous consent. The bill passed the Senate without amendment by unanimous consent the same day. The next day, the House presented the bill to the president, who signed it into law.

The full bill can be read here.

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