US Court Overturns EPA’s Withholding of Small Refinery Biofuel Waivers

A victory for the refining industry as a U.S. appeals court overturned the Biden administration’s denial of “hardship waivers” to small refiners, exempting them from biofuel mandates. The court ruled in favor of refineries such as Ergon, Calumet Shreveport, and Placid, finding the EPA’s decision to reject the waiver requests to be “impermissibly retroactive; contrary to law; and counter to the record evidence”.

According to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), oil refiners are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation’s fuel mix or purchase tradable credits. However, small refiners can seek exemptions if they can demonstrate that the obligations cause them undue harm.

For years, the biofuel industry, particularly producers of corn-based ethanol, have contested the small refinery waiver program, claiming it disproportionately benefits the oil industry while negatively impacting American farmers. On the other hand, refiners argue that ethanol mandates impose unfair costs and pose a threat to the viability of small plants.

This decision is likely to have significant implications for both the refining and biofuel industries, shaping the ongoing debate surrounding biofuel mandates and exemptions.

(Reporting by Heather Timmons; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)


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