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Biofuels coalition files brief challenging 31 small refinery exemptions in 2018

Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, and National Farmers Union filed a brief challenging EPA’s August 2019 decision to exempt 31 small refineries from their obligations to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2018.

Collectively known as the Biofuels Coalition for this case, the group submitted its filing to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that EPA lacked the authority to issue such exemptions and that it acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in attempting to do so.

In its brief, the Coalition asserts some of the same arguments that the Renewable Fuels Association, NCGA, NFU, and ACE successfully made in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals against three small refinery exemptions, including the fact that EPA lacked the authority to extend small refinery exemptions that had lapsed in earlier years.

The Coalition also took on EPA’s failure to provide its own refinery-by-refinery analysis to support a finding of a disproportionate economic hardship, particularly in the 20 instances where EPA decided to grant a full exemption despite the Department of Energy recommending that only a partial exemption be granted. In addition, the Biofuels Coalition posed the same question on which the Tenth Circuit found EPA inexcusably silent: If all RFS compliance costs are ultimately passed through to end users and recovered, as EPA has repeatedly maintained, how is it that any small refinery can suffer a disproportionate economic hardship?

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