EPA Reiterates RFS Position to SCOTUS

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2021

Agency Defends 10th Circuit Decision on RFS Small-Refinery Exemptions

The EPA and biofuel groups filed briefs with the Supreme Court on Wednesday ahead of oral arguments in April. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)
The EPA and biofuel groups filed briefs with the Supreme Court on Wednesday ahead of oral arguments in April. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — EPA solidified its new position on the scope and purpose of the small-refinery exemptions program on Wednesday in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. The agency argues three refiners who received Renewable Fuel Standard exemptions in 2017 and 2018 did not qualify.

In January 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver ruled EPA violated the law in granting three exemptions. The ruling led biofuel agencies to push the Trump administration to apply the ruling nationally.

EPA said in its brief to the Supreme Court that few refiners would be eligible for extensions if the law is followed. For example, in 2014, five small refineries were eligible for extensions because they “maintained an exemption since the start of the RFS program,” EPA said. There were three such refineries in 2015 and two in 2016.

From 2016 to 2020, the Trump EPA granted 88 small-refinery exemptions.

The EPA said in its brief the three refiners in the 10th Circuit case did not qualify.

“Although EPA typically treats as confidential the identities of the small refineries that receive exemption extensions,” the agency said, “it is undisputed that petitioners were not among the small refineries that had maintained exemptions through the years for which they sought extensions.

“Thus, when petitioners sought extensions in 2017 and 2018, EPA had no authority to grant their requests.”

The 10th Circuit remanded three exemptions granted to refiners in Wynnewood, Oklahoma; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Woods Cross, Utah. The Cheyenne and Woods Cross petitions were from 2017, while the Wynnewood petition was in 2018, https://www.dtnpf.com/….

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