Groups urge EPA to spell out RFS waiver rules

Source: By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming • Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Farm and ethanol groups said they were confident the EPA will approve few exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Farm and ethanol groups said they were confident the EPA will approve few exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard, but they urged the agency on Monday to state how it will run the program in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court ruling on waivers. The EPA said it was analyzing the Supreme Court decision, which expanded the number of refineries that can ask for an exemption, and said it “will follow the law and base our decisions on sound science while ensuring transparency.”

During a teleconference, Geoff Cooper, chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association, suggested the EPA could issue a memorandum spelling out its intentions or incorporate them into documents that are part of setting the annual target for biofuel use. An EPA statement “would just speak volumes” in providing clarity to farmers, said John Linder, president of the National Corn Growers Association.

The Supreme Court overruled the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver on Friday, saying the appeals court erred in limiting eligibility for RFS waivers to refineries that already had one. The justices did not touch on another part of the appellate court ruling — that refineries had to prove the RFS was the cause of their economic hardship.

“The Supreme Court did not say the EPA must approve waiver requests,” said Brian Jennings of the American Coalition for Ethanol. “We are confident EPA will dramatically reduce [small refinery exemptions] going forward.”

In February, the EPA said it agreed with the 10th Circuit ruling. The National Farmers Union “will continue to be watching closely” how the EPA acts on RFS waivers, said president Rob Larew.

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