NBB welcomes administration’s decision not to appeal SRE ruling

By The National Biodiesel Board | March 25, 2020

The National Biodiesel Board welcomes President Trump’s decision not to join an appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s ruling in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA. The court’s January decision invalidated three small refinery exemptions that the U.S. EPA granted retroactively for the 2016 Renewable Fuel Standard, ruling they were not extensions of existing exemptions as required by the language of the law. The court further stated that EPA unlawfully considered factors outside the RFS and ignored evidence that refiners recoup any cost to comply with the program.

Although several petroleum refiners requested an en banc rehearing by the court, NBB expects EPA to consider all pending 2019 exemption petitions in a manner consistent with the nationwide application of the court’s decision.

“NBB and its members greatly appreciate President Trump’s commitment to support the biodiesel industry and the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “Last October, the president directed EPA to mitigate the damage to the industry and the RFS from small refinery exemptions. EPA should put an end to the unwarranted expansion of small refinery exemptions.

Beginning with the 2016 RFS obligations, EPA rapidly expanded the number of small refinery exemptions. The agency granted exemptions to 85 small refineries over three years, excusing 38.3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from the RFS obligations. That action destroyed demand for more than 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel, including advanced biofuels such as biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. In a supplement to the 2020 RFS rule, EPA acknowledged that it must account for the exempted volumes in order to ensure that RFS volumes are met, as Congress intended.

“EPA's small refinery exemptions destroyed demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel over the past three years,” Kovarik said. “Producers are still struggling to regain momentum and growth; a handful of facilities remain closed after shutting down last year. The industry is also facing the economic impacts of the coronavirus and the threat to U.S. energy security from foreign countries flooding the markets with cheap oil. Applying the court’s ruling nationwide would eliminate an unnecessary ongoing challenge for the industry.”

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.

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