Asking the courts to stop EPA's small refinery exemptions

The Advanced Biofuels Association is asking a Washington, D.C., Circuit Court to block the Environmental Protection Agency from exempting any small refiners from their 2018 biofuel blending requirements. The requirements are part of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

The trade association is hoping to start on oral arguments for an injunction as soon as possible. The EPA and refiners have been pointing to a court decision in the Sinclair vs. EPA case, which said the EPA was setting the requirements for waivers too high. The EPA and the refiners have used that as justification for expanding the number of exemptions. But, as Reuters reported Thursday, the methodology change happened months before the court decision in August of 2017.

The ABA court filing says the new EPA approach ignores all Department of Energy recommendations for partial exemptions and universally awards full exemptions. EPA issued no denials for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years. They also have 40 applications for 2018 waiting for a decision.

An EPA spokesman says, “The state of the Renewable Fuels Standard and the small refinery exemption program have been subject to court opinions prior to and during the Trump Administration.”

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