Biofuel waivers backed by Supreme Court decision for refiners

Refinery biofuel

Biofuel waivers were backed by a decision from the U.S. Supreme court, granting refiners HollyFrontier and CVR Energy with extensions to an exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), already expired.

Firstly, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision that faulted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for giving refineries in Wyoming; Utah and also Oklahoma extensions on waivers RFS, which mandates refiners to blend ethanol into their mix. However, those exemptions were already expired.

Secondly, the requirement is under a law called the Clean Air Act; in 2005 changes were made to the law, in order to require from refiners ethanol and biofuel quotas; with the intention to reduce dependance on foreign oil and support alternative and renewable fuels.

However, those quotas ascend to the billions of gallons, therefore refiners argue that those quotas are hurtful for their finances. To relief refiners, the Small Refinery Waiver program granted exemptions. To what the corn and biofuel industry says its also hurtful for their demand.

Thirdly, the dispute is old between both industries. However, it has been escalating as under Donald Trump’s term those exemptions increased considerably.

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Biofuel industry disappointed…

On the other hand, the ruling was 6-3, authored by conservative judge Neil Gorsuch; who compared the decision to granting a student wanting more time to complete a term paper; even though the deadline has passed. “It is entirely natural and consistent with ordinary usage; to seek an ‘extension’ of time even after some time lapse,” Gorsuch said.

In contrast, conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, joined by liberal counterparts, highlighted Gorsuch’s particular approach on the word “extend.” “The EPA cannot ‘extend’ an exemption that a refinery no longer has,” they said, quoted by Reuters.

Moreover, after the decision U.S. renewable fuel credits fell in the trading market; they went down from $1,65 to $1,55; also, gasoline and diesel futures plunged about 3% immediately following the news, but later eased losses, according to Reuters.

States backing the refineries included Wyoming. Those backing biofuels inculded Iowa. Both sides cited economic threats to their rural economies posed by the litigation. HollyFrontier also said in a statement “EPA needs to take immediate action to make the RFS a workable program for U.S. refiners and consumers.”

Finally, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association, said in a statement; they were “extremely disappointed in this unfortunate decision from the Supreme Court.”

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