As the Trump administration ends and the Biden administration prepares to begin, the change at EPA can’t come soon enough for the biofuels industry. Not only has the Andrew Wheeler (and his predecessor Scott Pruitt) led agency not backed up President Trump’s words of support for biofuels, EPA has also not followed the ruling of the 10th circuit court to change its handling of small refinery exemptions to the RFS. That ruling is now going to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
While that will finally bring resolution to the issue, it also delays even further what seemed a victory for the biofuels industry a year ago. The industry remains confident their victory will be upheld but just the fact the Supreme Court is willing to review the case has to make you wonder about the outcome. Meanwhile the biofuels industry seems to feel good about its chances of getting a different outcome on handling of the RFS from the incoming Biden administration.
The message of how important this issue is has been sent and supposedly received by the transition team. We’ll soon see if their actions support the words of candidate Biden. Too often, on this and many other issues, campaign words are not followed up with action after an election. The biofuels industry can’t afford for that to happen again. Meanwhile the watch is on during the final days of this administration to see if EPA has any parting gifts for the oil industry in the form of more waivers. If there are then you can expect more legal challenges from the biofuels industry.
RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper told me he can’t wait for Andrew Wheeler to leave office and called him a hypocrite for his handling of the RFS. Incoming administrator Michael Regan will inherit a hot issue that has been allowed to fester for four years. The Trump administration tried to walk a fine line on this issue and only succeeded in making both sides mad. We’ll soon see how the Biden administration chooses to handle it. Their decision could set the tone for their relationship with agriculture moving forward.