US court declines to review EPA’s refusal to account for small refinery exemptions

The US Court of Appeals for the DC District has declined to review the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) refusal to account for its flood of retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

An appeal made by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) was ‘dismissed on technical grounds’, according to the biodiesel association. NBB challenged the EPA’s decision to continue ignoring SREs granted after the annual rule is established.

The US Court of Appeals dismissed the petition from the NBB on the grounds that the biofuel industry did not comment on the topic and provide the EPA with sufficient opportunity to address those comments. It has, however, left room for future challenges on the issue.

“The Court’s decision is frustrating,” commented NBB vice-president of federal affairs Kurt Kovarik. “EPA requested comment on its practice of ignoring retroactive small refinery exemptions but did not give notice of its intent to unleash a flood of the exemptions. The court, however, faults the industry for not commenting specifically on that.

“EPA’s flood of retroactive small refinery exemptions are causing severe economic harm to biodiesel and renewable diesel producers, forcing some to close their doors and lay off workers. It’s disappointing that the court did not take this opportunity to address that harm.”