Renewable Fuels Association pleased court vacating exemptions


Renewable Fuels Association pleased court vacating exemptions

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the organization is pleased the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ordered three small refinery exemptions be vacated and remanded back to the EPA.

“That basically means (the court) is overturning those exemptions, sending them back to EPA for reconsideration, and that it’s up to the agency to decide whether it wants to cancel those exemptions or try it again after revising this,” he says. “We firmly believe that after EPA reviews all the facts surrounding these three exemptions that they’ll be cancelled, which is what we’re after in the first place.”

Less than a day before the inauguration of President Biden, the Trump administration’s EPA announced the exemptions later confirmed to Sinclair refineries in Wyoming. The Renewable Fuels Association filed an emergency stay in the U.S. Court of Appeals, and in its April 30th filing, EPA asked the court to overturn the exemption because the previous administration’s agency failed to properly analyze the petitions. This week, Sinclair filed a motion with the court that it did not oppose EPA’s request and yesterday the court approved EPA’s motion.

“Sinclair not opposing the request was actually a surprise to us,” he says. “They agreed that maybe those exemptions were improperly granted, and EPA should take another look.”

He tells Brownfield RFA is encouraged by the direction of the Biden administration’s EPA.

“It has been night and day difference between the Trump administration’s EPA and Biden administration’s EPA on small refinery exemptions,” he says. “One of the things Biden said when he was campaigning is that he was going to put an end to the surge of granting small refinery exemptions. So far, every action we’ve seen from this EPA is in support of that commitment Biden made and is consistent with those commitments.”  

Cooper says RFA and its members were prepared for the last-minute exemptions granted in January and will continue to work in support of the industry and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Audio: Geoff Cooper