Thanks to the CBC for some old fashioned investigative journalism. Click the image to go to their report. In the macro view, considering the scope and scale of the challenge of weaning off of fossil fuels, the credits at the center of this story are small and seemingly minor parts of a bigger puzzle. Perhaps. But playing with smoke and mirrors and mystery trains crossing borders in the night? Time to bring back tar and feathers for these Enron-ish slick vendors:
…”If the facts in your story bear out, there needs to be some people go to prison,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the U.S. National Biodiesel Board. “It’s not a victimless crime. [RIN fraud] has impacted the livelihoods and jobs of absolutely everybody in this industry, and it has cost the folks in the petroleum industry who have to comply with this, millions and millions of dollars and it has put small- and medium-sized biodiesel producers completely out of business.
“We’ve taken this very seriously. I testified before the House energy oversight committee this summer. Congress has been whopping mad about [RIN fraud] as well.”
CBC has contacted the EPA repeatedly in recent days asking for an opinion on whether the Bioversel imports were legal. The agency has refused to comment.
Northern Biodiesel owner Bob Bechtold says his company’s role in the deal made it a victim. His firm agreed to act as importer to generate the RINs, but when the paperwork wasn’t forthcoming from Bioversel, one of his employees called CN Rail to find out what was happening at the border.
“All we got from [CN Rail] was that there was a curious thing happening, that there were a number of cars that just kept going back and forth across the Canadian border,” he told CBC News. “When we started smelling something that was weird, we called the EPA, and notified them that this was happening, and then we called the company that we were doing this transaction with and said we’re not doing any more business with you.”
Bechtold said Bioversel had a “fit.”
“First they threatened us that we were breaking the contract,” he said. “One person came here and tried to insist that I would be in a lot of trouble because of breaking the contract, and I assured him that I thought he would be in a lot more trouble if this continued. Then they offered to buy our company, which we thought was pretty absurd, and I basically sent him on his way.”
In its letter to the EPA, Northern Biodiesel cautioned its RIN company codes had been compromised, alleging that Bioversel’s partner company, Verdeo, took its numbers and made up new RINs “as if the biodiesel has been blended into the U.S. transportation fuel stream and separated from the renewable fuel. Then they were illegally sold by Verdeo to parties obligated to acquire RINs by the Renewable Fuel Standard.”…
Read the whole story here.