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Court Seeks Status Report on EPA Compliance with Order on Renewable Volumes

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to submit a status report every 60 days “on its progress in complying with the court’s remand” stemming from the July 2017 ruling in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA. The 2017 ruling required EPA to address its improper waiver of 500 million gallons of 2016 renewable fuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Wednesday’s order from the D.C. Circuit was in response to a motion filed in December 2020 by biofuel and farm organizations, in which the groups asked the court to enforce its 2017 decision by requiring EPA to fully restore the 500-million-gallons that were inappropriately waived from the 2016 RFS requirements. While the court denied the motion, the groups welcomed the court’s requirement that EPA provide status reports every 60 days on its progress in responding to the court’s decision.

The coalition, which includes Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and National Sorghum Producers, issued the statement following the court’s announcement Wednesday:

“While we are disappointed by the court’s order on our motion, we are glad to see that the court is holding EPA accountable by requiring it to submit a report every 60 days on the status of the court’s remand on the improper waiver. This time of transition provides EPA the opportunity to move boldly and address prior missteps when it comes to the need for a low-carbon future for our nation’s fuel supply; adjusting quickly for the court-ordered remand would do just that. America’s biofuel producers, rural communities and farm families look forward to working with EPA and the Biden administration to make progress on restoring integrity and growth to the RFS.”

In the July 2017 ruling in the case Americans for Clean Energy et al. v. EPA et al., the court invalidated the EPA’s improper waiver of 500 million gallons in the 2016 RVO rule and ordered EPA to revisit the rule. The court held that EPA’s interpretation of the “inadequate domestic supply” waiver provision “runs contrary to how the Renewable Fuel Program is supposed to work.” To date, EPA has failed to complete any proceedings to reconsider the 2016 RVO and has not restored the 500 million lost RIN gallons.

Source: Growth Energy news release