WASHINGTON, DC – An agriculture and biofuels coalition has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to lift a stay it placed on a joint 2018 petition asking the court to protect the renewable fuels industry from undue harm caused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The petition, filed late Tuesday afternoon, asks 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.
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.
The parties on the petition are Growth Energy (Growth), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), National Biodiesel Board (NBB), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), and National Farmers Union (NFU). The group had petitioned EPA for redress on this issue in June 2018 but has received no response from the agency. “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.”
In recent years, EPA has granted an unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions from Renewable Fuel Standard obligations, destroying demand for renewable fuels, including both ethanol and biodiesel, and putting renewable fuel plants and American farmers at risk. EPA has steadfastly refused to redistribute lost gallons from prior years in subsequent annual obligations, including those for 2020 that were announced on July 5.
When EPA exempts certain small refineries from their obligations retroactively after the Agency sets the annual percentage standard, EPA does not account for those exemptions in setting the annual percentage standards. In those circumstances, it becomes impossible for EPA to ensure that the total annual volume obligation is met under EPA’s current implementation of the program. This is what has occurred for compliance year 2016 and later years.
In the absence of any direct action from EPA, the coalition asked the court to require the Agency to reconsider how its RFS regulations account for retroactive small refinery exemptions. The coalition maintains that exemptions granted after a final RVO rule should be accounted for in the following year’s volume obligations and that volumes lost to small refineries then be redistributed among other non-exempt obligated parties. In other words, small refinery exemptions—whether they are granted before, during, or after the compliance year, should be accounted for similarly.
EPA’s failure to act on the petition hurts American agriculture and renewable fuel producers and pits the EPA’s support for refineries against another industry critical to rural America. “EPA’s actions are particularly inexcusable given the time-sensitive nature of the annual RVO and percentage standard setting process,” the coalition notes. “By failing to act on the Coalition’s request, EPA violated a statutory ‘right to timely decisionmaking’ implicit in the agency’s regulatory scheme that will result in the Coalition being ‘irreparably harmed through [the] delay.’”
Read the coalition’s petition here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor submitted written comments on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) proposed regulations under section 45Q, a performance-based tax credit for carbon capture projects. In her letter, Skor called on the agency to offer credit for carbon dioxide captured for food and beverage purposes, which would promote investment […]
This week in our “Conversations with Biofuels Champions” summer video series, our CEO Emily Skor visited with one of our top champs in the House of Representatives: U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois. Born in Springfield, Illinois, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos comes from a long line of farmers and teachers and a deep appreciation for being […]
CEO @GrowthEnergy tells IRS how #ethanol plants can lead the way on #carbon capture https://t.co/xiHAipVJpI
As @RepCheri Bustos says here, the biofuels industry has a cascading effect on agriculture — it promotes strong supply chains and multiplies rural economic output. Abuse of the Renewable Fuel Standard through refinery exemptions only serves to harm the ag economy. https://t.co/pvW7P4yZ4F
The future of fuel — increased engine performance, lowering our carbon footprint, and eliminating toxic fuel additives — is already here. At @EESI's Clean Energy Expo, Growth Energy SVP of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley laid out the benefits that expanding ethanol can bring. https://t.co/aW5v9A4prB
In a letter to the IRS, GE CEO @EmilySkor proposes applying the 45Q performance based carbon tax credit to carbon capture projects at ethanol plants as a way to incentivize and expand their further use. Biofuel producers are ready to do more! See the letter here: https://t.co/MtEDPF0jKy