Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Renewable Fuels Ass'n v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20030
Nos. 18-9533, (10th Cir., 01/24/2020)

The Tenth Circuit vacated EPA orders that granted extensions of exemptions under the CAA's renewable fuels program for three small refineries. Industry groups challenged the orders, arguing that EPA failed to honor the statutory requirement of an "extension" by confusing an extension of an exemption with a "plain-vanilla" exemption. The court found that EPA exceeded its authority in granting the petitions because none of the refineries consistently received an exemption in the years preceding their petitions, and thus that there were no underlying exemptions for the Agency to extend. The groups also argued that EPA relied on disproportionate economic hardship suffered by the refineries as a result of something other than compliance with renewable fuel standard (RFS) obligations. The court found that the plain language of the exemption provisions required renewable fuels compliance to be the cause of any disproportionate hardship, and thus that granting the extensions at least in part on hardships not caused by RFS compliance fell outside the scope of EPA's statutory authority. It therefore vacated the orders and remanded to EPA for further proceedings.