Court vacates EPA rejection of small refinery exemptions for Suncor plant

Source: BY: KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2022

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit vacated EPA’s decision to reject a request by Suncor Energy to exempt two of its Colorado refineries from biofuel blending requirements and ordered the agency to reconsider the issue.

The ruling overturning the EPA decision centers around how the agency defines a small refinery that could be eligible for a exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires companies to blend renewable fuels into the nation’s fuel supply.

Details: Suncor filed two petitions in 2018 seeking an extension of small refinery exemptions for its East Refinery and West Refinery in Commerce City, Colorado. As part of the federal program, the law allows EPA to grant exemptions for small refineries that blend 75,000 barrels per day or less.

In its 2019 rejection, EPA acknowledged that both refineries were among those that received an original exemption in 2006. But it added that Suncor had “since done significant work to integrate the process operations of the two facilities” so that they function as a single refinery with an average aggregate daily crude oil throughput that exceeded 75,000 bpd in 2017 and 2018 and “thus no longer meet the definition of a small refinery.”