U.S. appeals court vacates biofuel waivers granted by Trump administration

Source: By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021

File photo: A pump jack stands idle in Dewitt County, Texas January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Anna Driver.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday vacated three waivers exempting oil refiners from biofuel blending mandates that former President Donald Trump’s administration granted in the last hours of his term.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which granted the waivers in January to Sinclair Oil Corp refineries, did not properly analyze legal questions before granting the waivers, the ruling dated on Wednesday said.

The EPA, under President Joe Biden, filed a motion in late April to vacate the waivers. The EPA had said it did not analyze whether Sinclair’s refineries would have qualified to receive the exemptions, according to a court ruling from January 2020. read more

Under U.S. law, refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into their fuel mix, or buy credits from those that do. Refiners can apply for exemptions to the rules if they can prove they do financial harm.

The biofuel industry cheered the decision.

“We’re pleased that the court has vacated these improperly granted waivers and is sending them back to EPA for reconsideration,” said Geoff Cooper, chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association. “EPA did the right thing in April by requesting that these spurious exemptions be vacated.”