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CEO DATELINE – Association lawsuit against ethanol exemptions survives challenge

April 9, 2020
By Walt Williams

A federal appeals court has refused to rehear a recent decision finding the Environmental Protection Agency improperly granted three oil refineries waivers from ethanol blending requirements, handing a victory to the associations that brought the lawsuit.

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The federal Renewable Fuel Standard requires refineries to blend ethanol with motor fuel but has a provision granting exemptions to small refineries that can prove the mandate would result in economic hardship. The Trump administration has granted an unusually large number of exemptions in recent years, angering ethanol producers and farmers whose crops are used to make the biofuel.

The National Corn Growers Association, along with the Renewable Fuels Association, American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers, sued the EPA in 2018 over waivers granted to three refineries in Utah, Oklahoma and Wyoming. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the waivers in January, finding the agency overstepped its authority.

The federal government appealed to the court to rehear the case but the request was recently denied.

“With the Court’s denial of refiners’ appeal request, NCGA strongly urges EPA to act quickly to appropriately apply the Tenth Circuit decision nationwide and deny pending (small refinery exemptions),” NCGA said in a statement.

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