Ethanol supporters frustrated by lack of transparency on waivers take case to court

Source: By Steve White, Fox NE • Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2020

Ethanol backers frustrated by a lack of government transparency are asking a federal court to intervene.

The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy filed a motion in federal court asking for the District Court of the District of Columbia to order the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give basic details on waivers given to small refineries.

The biofuels industry has been concerned about the EPA’s “radical escalation” to grant Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).

Troy Bredenkamp of Renewable Fuels Nebraska supports that effort.

He told NTV, “From the beginning, the EPA’s decision process regarding SREs has been top secret. It is inexplicable how a federal agency can get away with granting any entity, let alone oil refineries, an exemption from federal law without even the most basic of information as to what that exemption decision is being based on. ”

The following is a joint statement from Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association and Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy:

“For the last several years, biofuels interests have pleaded with EPA to lift the veil of secrecy that it has held over the issuance of small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). These clandestine agency actions have destabilized markets and allowed numerous refineries to avoid their RFS compliance obligations at the expense of renewable fuel producers and supporters, including America’s farmers.

“Fundamentally, this request is about fairness and transparency in government. If an agency decides to relieve a refinery from the obligations Congress imposed under the Clean Air Act or any federal law, it should be done in the public view.”

The biofuels groups are asking the court to take three steps:

  • EPA should not withhold the name of the company submitting an application for an SRE nor the name and location of the refinery for which relief is requested
  • EPA should immediately produce the information that was unlawfully withheld for RFS compliance years 2015, 2016, and 2017
  • EPA should not withhold any of the five data elements identified in the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (“REGS”) rule