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Biden administrations supports court's restrictions for biofuel exemptions

Biden administrations supports court's restrictions for biofuel exemptions
© istock

The Biden administration announced on Monday that it supports limits set by a court last year on when small oil refineries can get exemptions from a requirement to blend a certain amount of biofuels such as ethanol into their product.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a statement that it supports an interpretation issued by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last year. 

In that ruling, a three-judge panel decided that the agency had been giving out too many waivers, saying they should be for refineries that continually received them and that were facing disproportionate economic troubles caused by the requirements.

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“EPA supports that court’s interpretation of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) small-refinery provisions,” the agency said in a statement. 

Biofuels groups cheered the agency’s announcement. 

"We appreciate EPA’s effort to restore integrity to the RFS and set consistent criteria for decisions on exemptions," Kurt Kovarik, the National Biodiesel Board’s vice president for federal affairs, said in a statement. 

"The 10th Circuit Court set a reasonable standard that EPA’s authority is limited to extending existing exemptions. We applaud EPA’s agreement with that interpretation," Kovarik said. 

The Trump administration ultimately declined to appeal the ruling but issued waivers at the very end of its tenure. 

The issue pitted two factions of former President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE’s base — farmers and the oil industry — against each other, putting him in a difficult spot politically. 

The Supreme Court announced last month that it would take up the issue after appeals from refineries.