Growth Energy Battles in Court to Reverse Demand Destruction

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, January 29th, Growth Energy, along with others in the biofuels industry, filed an opening brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Case No. 20-1046) challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to properly establish 2020 biofuel blending targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

In their brief, the parties seek to ensure that the annual biofuel targets, or Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), account for small refinery exemptions (SREs) the agency issued for past years. EPA’s current regulations factor in only future SREs, while ignoring biofuel demand destroyed by past SREs granted retroactively, totaling more than four billion gallons in recent years.

“The Trump EPA’s 2020 biofuel targets failed to account for the billions of gallons of demand lost to the agency’s mismanagement of the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Regulators took one step forward by recognizing the future impact of oil industry handouts, but they never attempted to repair the damage that continues to weigh down hopes for a swift rural recovery. As President Biden has said, EPA waivers ‘severely cut ethanol production, costing farmers income and ethanol plant workers their jobs.’ We couldn’t agree more, and we are going to fight to restore every gallon.”

Growth and others also challenge EPA’s abuse of its waiver authority for cellulosic biofuel targets. Under the 2020 RVOs, the agency set cellulosic targets that did not account for 50 million credits carried over from past years. As a result, cellulosic targets were set at a mere 590 million gallons.

“Farmers and biofuel producers are working hard to harness clean energy from agricultural residue and corn fiber,” Skor added. “These fuels are a powerful weapon in the battle against climate change. We cannot allow our nation’s investments in low-carbon energy to be derailed by regulatory abuse.”