Trump Administration Flip-Flops On Oil Refinery Waivers Again, Farm Groups Protest Again

Mar 09 18:03 2020 Print This Article

by Jim Lane

In Washington, what must have become a weary if vigilant posse of the nation’s biofuel and farm advocates are out on the hustings again this week, over a fresh attack on the US Renewable Fuel Standard, this one led by officials in the Trump Administration, if a story reported by Bloomberg stands up against scrutiny.

What has been described as a “misinformation campaign spearheaded by Senator Ted Cruz” is seeking to overturn a unanimous court decision that would halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard.  

The backstory

In a unanimous panel, the Tenth Circuit held that EPA abused its discretion in granting SREs to three small refineries in 2016 because the statute allows the agency only to grant an extension of exemptions that have been continuously extended and in effect since 2011. In the case of these three refineries, there were no previous exemptions to “extend.” The Court also held that EPA exceeded its authority by granting SREs that were based in part on economic hardship unrelated to RFS compliance. Finally, the Court ruled that even if EPA had the authority to grant the SREs, its decision was nonetheless arbitrary and capricious because EPA failed to address its own analysis that refineries recover their RFS compliance costs.

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