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Leaders Welcome Decision Not to Appeal Renewal Fuel Ruling
Iowa Ag Connection - 03/26/2020

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) welcomed President Trump's decision not to join an appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit's ruling in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA. The Court's January decision invalidated three small refinery exemptions that the Environmental Protection Agency granted retroactively for the 2016 Renewable Fuel Standards, ruling they were not extensions of existing exemptions as required by the language of the law. The 10th Circuit Court further stated that EPA unlawfully considered factors outside the RFS and ignored evidence that refiners recoup any cost to comply with the program.

Although several petroleum refiners requested an en banc rehearing by the Circuit Court, NBB expects EPA to consider all pending 2019 exemption petitions in a manner consistent with the nationwide application of the 10th Circuit's decision.

Naig said, "We appreciate President Trump's administration for upholding the unanimous 10th Circuit Court's decision," said Secretary Naig. "Unfortunately, our biofuels producers are still struggling through the economic downturn, trade uncertainty and plummeting fuel demand. Many plants are reported to be ceasing production or closing. But, today, this is welcome news in a very uncertain time. President Trump's actions signal that he has no intention of leaving rural America behind."

The renewable fuels industry accounts for more than $5.3 billion -- or about 3 percent -- of Iowa's GDP, $2.5 billion in household incomes and more than 48,000 jobs.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's vice president of federal affairs, said, "NBB and its members greatly appreciate President Trump's commitment to support the biodiesel industry and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Last October, the President directed EPA to mitigate the damage to the industry and the RFS from small refinery exemptions. EPA should put an end to the unwarranted expansion of small refinery exemptions.

"EPA's small refinery exemptions destroyed demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel over the past three years. Producers are still struggling to regain momentum and growth; a handful of facilities remain closed after shutting down last year. The industry is also facing the economic impacts of the coronavirus and the threat to U.S. energy security from foreign countries flooding the markets with cheap oil. Applying the Court's ruling nationwide would eliminate an unnecessary ongoing challenge for the industry."

Beginning with the 2016 RFS obligations, EPA rapidly expanded the number of small refinery exemptions. The agency granted exemptions to 85 small refineries over three years, excusing 38.3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from the RFS obligations. That action destroyed demand for more than 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel, including advanced biofuels such as biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel. In a supplement to the 2020 RFS rule, EPA acknowledged that it must account for the exempted volumes in order to ensure that RFS volumes are met, as Congress intended.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation's first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors.

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