A coalition of seven agricultural and biofuels organizations is seeking court action to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for lost biofuel volumes resulting from small refinery exemptions granted by the agency.
The coalition consisting of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy (Growth), National Biodiesel Board (NBB), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), and National Farmers Union (NFU) had petitioned EPA for redress on this issue in June 2018 but has received no response from the agency. In the petition filed this week, they are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to lift a stay it placed on the joint 2018 petition asking the court to protect the renewable fuels industry from undue harm caused by EPA.
The coalition had asked for the stay to give EPA time to review its request to reconsider its current regulations. EPA’s response never arrived, but EPA’s statements and actions over the past 13 months indicate that EPA has effectively denied the request. Not content to wait further, the coalition asked the court to step in and restart proceedings.
“Thirteen months have passed since the filing of the petition, without even a proposed substantive response from EPA,” the motion states. “Meanwhile, the Agency has shown through various actions that it is not genuinely considering the Coalition’s administrative petition and has in effect denied it.”
The coalition wants EPA to revise its Renewable Fuel Standard regulations for setting annual percentage standards of renewable fuel to account for small refinery exemptions the Agency issues retroactively. EPA’s current regulations factor in only future small refinery exemptions granted prior to the compliance year, despite the fact that most of the exemptions granted in recent years have been for compliance periods that had already ended.