Ethanol Industry Betting on Biden to Enforce D.C. U.S. Court Ruling on Exempted 2016 Gallons

The biofuel industry is betting on President Biden’s administration to follow a federal court order and restore half-a-billion gallons of improperly waived ethanol demand.

Ethanol producers are buoyed by Biden’s climate change focus and a D.C. federal court order to the EPA for regular 60-day status reports on complying with the court’s 2017 ruling against the waiver of half-a-billion gallons in 2016.

While the D.C. court denied a motion by farm and biofuel groups to immediately restore those gallons, Renewable Fuels Association chief Geoff Cooper is still betting on Biden EPA compliance. “We are confident that the Biden EPA is going to look at that and say, ‘what in the world, you’ve got a court order from three-and-a-half years ago, that the Trump EPA chose to ignore, that demands that 500-million gallons of renewable fuel be returned to the RFS,” according to Cooper.

The corn ethanol industry’s bigger hope is that the Supreme Court will affirm a Denver federal court ruling against most retroactive biofuel waivers. “If you have the Supreme Court affirming a Circuit Court ruling, that certainly lends more credence to the notion that this is policy that should be considered national in scope,” says Cooper.

But not everyone is pleased the High Court agreed to hear the appeal, lacking the usual disagreement in lower courts. “So, I’m surprised they’re even taking it up, can’t believe they’re taking it up, and I don’t know why, but it worries me that they are taking it up,” according to Cooper. Top ethanol Senator Chuck Grassley says the original Tenth Circuit ruling was a “defining moment” in the fight between farmers and big oil and farmers and the EPA.