Court Rejects Oil Industry Challenge to RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

A D.C. Circuit Court ruling on Tuesday upholds EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standards for 2020-2022 and rejects the oil refining industry’s challenges to the rule. The Court found that EPA acted appropriately in setting RFS standards for those years, including a supplemental volume requirement to comply with a 2016 D.C. Circuit Court decision.

“Once again, renewable fuel producers claim that EPA’s standards are set too low, while petroleum refiners contend they are too high,” read the court’s opinion. “We hold that EPA complied with the law and reasonably exercised its discretion in setting the renewable fuel requirements for the three years at issue. We therefore deny the petitions for review.”

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper said the decision will help set the tone for future RFS rulemakings. “Specifically, we are pleased that the Court confirmed EPA’s approach to assessing certain statutory factors and considering the benefits of renewable fuels,” said Cooper. “Further, we are strongly encouraged by the Court’s confirmation of EPA’s authority to account for potential small refinery exemptions on a prospective basis when setting standards. Finally, we are pleased with the Court’s decision to uphold EPA’s authority to impose a supplemental 250-million-gallon volume in 2022 to make up for the volume that EPA improperly waived in 2016.”

RFA and other biofuel stakeholders intervened in the lawsuit in support of EPA.

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