EPA Proposes Consent Decree on One Small-Refinery Exemptions Court Case

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter • Posted: Monday, January 4, 2021

With a number of small-refinery exemption court cases filed against EPA still pending, the agency has proposed a consent decree to settle one of those cases.The EPA published the proposed decree in the Federal Register on Monday, which would require the agency to decide on an SRE request made by United Refining Company. The company filed a civil lawsuit against EPA in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging the agency had not responded to its 2019 SRE request.The agency currently has 32 pending requests for 2019 and 14 for 2020. The Trump administration has not published decisions on the pending SRE requests.

The proposed consent decree now subject to a 30-day comment period, would require EPA to decide on the United Refining Company petition by Feb. 19, 2021.

In September 2020, EPA denied 54 of 68 pending requests for retroactive exemptions after receiving pushback from the ethanol industry and federal lawmakers. To date nine companies have sued the EPA on those denials.Growth Energy Chief Executive Officer Emily Skor said in a statement the agency needs to act on all outstanding exemption requests.”Even with the promise of a new year, there are continued challenges with EPA’s SRE program given the secrecy and lack of transparency into the entire process,” she said in a statement.

Skor said “swift action” on all outstanding SRE petitions “remains critical to providing stability for biofuel producers and farmers. President-elect Biden’s administration has an opportunity to uphold a key campaign promise to rural America and deny any and all SRE petitions that are not in accordance with the Renewable Fuel Standard or the (U.S. Court of Appeals) 10th Circuit’s ruling on SREs, which was almost a year ago.”

Public comments can be submitted here: https://www.regulations.gov/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com