Court Rules Against EPA Small Refinery Waivers

The Environmental Protection Agency must reconsider its small refinery exemptions, following a recent court decision. A document dated January 24 from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit says the EPA overstepped its authority to grant three specific waivers in question. The decision is expected to broadly impact the EPA approach to granting waivers, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, which claims the waivers are unlawful. The court ruling stems from a May 2018 challenge brought against EPA by the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union. NFU President Roger Johnson says, “We believe this ruling will help restore the ability of the RFS to drive demand.” Among other findings, the court says EPA cannot “extend” exemptions to any small refineries whose earlier, temporary exemptions had lapsed. The court also found EPA abused its discretion in failing to explain how the agency could conclude that a small refinery might suffer a disproportionate economic hardship.