Tuesday, February 23, 2021

EPA sides with corn and ethanol producers on small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard

The Environmental Protection Agency "is changing course on small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard, announcing Monday it agrees with a Court of Appeals decision last year that the agency had mismanaged the program under the Trump administration," Todd Neeley reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer. The marked increase in such exemptions over the past four years hurt rural America and the biofuels industry, EPA said. 

"The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver, had ruled in January 2020 that EPA mishandled the exemptions program when it came to three small-refinery exemptions in particular. The Trump administration delayed action on the Renewable Fuel Standard to reflect the court's decision," Neeley reports. The Biden administration said it agrees with the ruling, which said the exemptions were meant to be temporary and that the agency can only extend pre-existing exemptions.

With the appeals court ruling "before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring, the EPA statement Monday means the Biden administration will not be defending the Trump administration's stance on the small-refinery exemptions to the RFS," Neeley reports.

The announcement was welcomed by corn growers and the ethanol industry, as well as the states where they have a large footprint, Neeley reports: "Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said although the Biden administration's decision is welcomed, she wants to see the Supreme Court uphold the RFS."

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