Told You So

Following a recent court ruling on EPA’s granting of small refinery exemptions (SREs) to the Renewable Fuels Standard, you couldn’t blame the biofuels industry for saying I told you so.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver recently ruled EPA didn’t have the authority to issue SREs to three companies that were not granted waivers originally.  The court also found EPA “abused its discretion” by not explaining its conclusion that a small refinery could suffer disproportionate economic hardship while also maintaining refiners passed on RFS compliance costs to consumers at the pump.  The court ruling confirms what the biofuels industry has been saying for the last few years.  EPA, under Scott Pruitt first and now under the direction of Andrew Wheeler, has not followed the law of the RFS. From misleading claims of being forced to grant waivers because of a court ruling to false claims of following Department of Energy recommendations, this EPA has shown a pattern of undermining the law of the RFS.  Despite President Trump’s public support of biofuels his administration’s agency in charge of administering the RFS has not carried out his pledges.  The biofuels industry has repeatedly told administration officials (and even the President himself) about the damage being done by EPA’s handling of the waiver issue but still it continues.  Perhaps this court decision will get their attention.  Despite the recent accomplishments of this Administration (USMCA, US/China Phase one trade deal, US/Japan trade deal and a new WOTUS rule) for agriculture, the RFS issue continues to be an open sore.  The time for excuses has long since passed.  EPA has not listened to the biofuels industry and we’ll now see if they listen to the courts.  Seemingly the one voice they would listen to is the President’s. Either he hasn’t made himself clear enough or they aren’t listening.  Either way it’s up to President Trump to resolve this issue if he truly wants to shore up his base in rural America heading to November.