• Trump Administration Wants More Time to Decide Whether to Appeal SRE Ruling

  • Trump Administration Wants More Time to Decide Whether to Appeal SRE Ruling

    The Trump administration wants more time to decide whether to appeal a January
    ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that threatens to undermine
    EPA's ability to grant small-refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel
    Standard (RFS).

    In a late-Friday filing, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the court
    for a 15-day extension to Monday's deadline for appealing to the full circuit
    court a Jan. 24 decision by a three-judge panel that ordered EPA to revoke
    three SREs it had approved in 2016 and 2017. The judges found the agency had
    exceeded its authority in approving the waivers because the Clean Air Act
    prevents it from extending exemptions to any small refineries whose earlier
    waivers had lapsed.

    The court also said EPA improperly considered economic factors other than RFS
    compliance when it granted the waivers.

    In the filing, the DOJ said the court's interpretation of the RFS "alters EPA's
    interpretation and practice, which has been employed in the adjudication of
    past exemption petitions from many small refineries."

    DOJ said the court's interpretation could also have "significant practical
    impacts on the RFS program going forward."

    EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee
    last week that the agency was still working "to find the right path forward" in
    the wake of the ruling and is looking at actions to "quell" the RINs market.

    Prices for D6 ethanol-related Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits had
    steadily risen from around 15cts on the day of the court ruling to trade above
    40cts for the first time in nearly two years last week before sliding to an
    OPIS assessment at 34.5cts on Friday after Bloomberg reported that the Trump
    administration would appeal the ruling.

    They were reported traded at 36cts and 36.5cts on Monday morning, with trade
    activity largely subdued in the wake of the broader slide of energy and
    financial markets.

    Ethanol industry group Growth Energy in a statement Saturday said "EPA
    shouldn't try to deny the inevitable truth -- it's recent radical escalation of
    SREs was unlawful, in the 10th Circuit and nationwide. No amount of delay will
    change that."

    --Reporting by Jordan Godwin, jgodwin@opisnet.com; Editing by Jeff Barber,

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