NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA—Growth Energy, the nation’s largest biofuels trade association, this week filed two petitions for rehearing with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the Court’s 2023 decision on small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The RFS allows small refiners to request exemptions from the program’s fuel blending obligations if they can demonstrate to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that compliance with the RFS would impose a “disproportionate economic hardship.” EPA has denied several of these requests over the past few years, reflecting numerous well-established analyses that have shown that refineries nearly always recoup their RFS compliance costs. However, in November, the Fifth Circuit sided with a group of six refineries, ruling that EPA improperly denied their SRE requests.
“As we noted in November, this lawsuit was never about the purported economic hardship faced by a small group of refineries—its ultimate goal was to allow those refineries not to comply with the law, and to block consumer access to lower-cost, lower-carbon fuel options at the pump,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “In its opinion, the Fifth Circuit made procedural and substantive errors and failed to consider the record, which demonstrates that EPA’s decision to deny the refinery exemptions was correct and well within its authority.”
“We hope that the rehearing petition will prompt the court to revisit and revise its opinion to allow EPA to continue to properly implement the nationwide SRE program, and ensure the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which spurs the production of American-made biofuels to bolster our rural economy, ensure national and energy security, lower carbon emissions, and save consumers money.”