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EPA to Review Small Refinery Exemptions Granted in 2019


The question of Small Refinery Exemptions has been extensively litigated during the past two years.  The EPA has now requested the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to send the decision made by the previous Administration back to the Agency for review.  The EPA maintains that small refineries that applied for extensions did not receive continuous extensions of their exemption.  The previous Administration granted 88 small refinery exemptions from 2016 to 2020 representing 4 billion gallons of ethanol demand. 


The EPA has 59 small-refinery exemption requests pending from 2016 through 2021.  The Agency maintains that exemptions were issued to refineries without any analysis or substantiation and that the Agency does not have records to account for their actions under the previous Administration. Given the volume of ethanol involved and the respective lobbying power of both the biofuels industry and petroleum refiners, this issue will not be settled either swiftly or amicably and will involve representations to a number of U.S. District Courts of Appeal and ultimately SCOTUS.