Justices reject renewable fuel standard, NEPA disputes

Source: By Pamela King, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, May 18, 2020

The Supreme Court today said it would not weigh in on legal battles over EPA’s implementation of its renewable fuel standard and the environmental impact of military drills conducted on park land.

Attorneys for the federal government last month urged the nation’s highest bench to reject Valero Energy Corp. v. EPA, a petition filed by refiners who argued the agency has fallen short of its duty to reconsider the application of its renewable fuel standard (Greenwire, April 6).

Under EPA’s 2010 “point of obligation” rule, refiners and importers — but not biofuel blenders — must adhere to the standard.

Valero and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers wrote in their plea to the Supreme Court that the justices should force EPA to “just think about” whether the standard applies to the appropriate parties.

It takes the vote of four justices to agree to hear a given case. The court accepts about 1% of the petitions it receives.

Military helicopter drills

The court also rejected a conservation group’s push against helicopter training and other military exercises on land the federal government conveyed to the state of Wisconsin.

Lawyers for the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance had asked the justices to overturn a lower court’s finding that the National Park Service did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws when it approved the drills in a recreational area.

The tract of land in question was previously home to a Cold War munitions site.

“Military helicopter training is not a recreational use,” the group told the high court in Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance v. Interior(Greenwire, March 17).