House Biofuels Caucus Statement on Supreme Court’s Renewable Fuel Standard Decision and the Future Integrity of the RFS
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the co-chairs of the bipartisan House Biofuels Caucus—Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02), Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03), Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), and Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03)—released the following statement after the Supreme Court weakened the RFS at the expense of family farmers and biofuels producers in rural America in HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC v. Renewable Fuels Association:
“We are concerned with the potential consequences of today’s Supreme Court’s decision, which could have a devastating impact on farmers and producers who are still fighting to recover from the volatile markets, unpredictable weather, and trade instability of the past several years. However, we are encouraged that the Environmental Protection Agency had reversed its position on small refinery exemptions prior to the Supreme Court’s final opinion, and we urge the Administration to apply the same logic in deciding not to grant future waivers. Today’s decision underscores the importance of the RFS Integrity Act; we will continue to fight for the enactment of this legislation to support family farmers and the clean biofuels industry.”
The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels by mandating that oil refiners blend billions of gallons of ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel each year or buy credits from those that do. Under the previous Administration, the EPA greatly expanded the number of small refinery waivers that were issued while undermining transparency and accountability in the SRE process. By issuing dozens of waivers between 2016 and 2020, the EPA saved the oil industry hundreds of millions of dollars while threatening rural economies and harming the biofuels industry at large.
In 2018, the Renewable Fuels Association and other groups filed a lawsuit challenging the Administration’s issuance of small refinery exemptions to three refineries in Oklahoma, Wyoming and Utah. Last year, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the RFS groups, declaring that the Environmental Protection Agency did not have the authority to extend an economic hardship waiver to any refinery that had not maintained a continuous string of annual waivers from the start of the RFS program. The court also held that in granting the waivers, EPA ignored its own studies that found refiners are largely able to pass through to customers their cost of acquiring Renewable Identification Number (RIN) compliance credits. Last year, several refineries, including HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining appealed the original ruling to the Supreme Court.