Get the latest weekly fluid news direct to your inbox.

Sign up for our free newsletter now.

US Supreme Court rules in favour of small refineries

news item image
The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of small refineries seeking relief from the Renewable Fuel Standard, delivering a major blow to biofuel groups in a long-running legal battle over the governance of the nation’s ethanol and biodiesel policy.
In a 6-3 ruling, the court ruled Small Refinery Exemptions from the nation’s biofuel blending requirements need not be extended in an uninterrupted fashion.
The decision overturns a 10th Circuit decision issued in January 2020 that required the waivers be granted to a facility consecutively.
At issue was the interpretation of the word “extend” in the context of biofuel mandate relief.
In April, lawyers for small refineries and the Department of Justice – along with biofuel groups – offered competing definitions; one side argued extension meant continuing an existing waiver, the other suggested "extend" in the legislative text could be interpreted as the extension of a handshake or the extended deadline for a tardy school assignment that has already lapsed.
A spokesperson for HollyFrontier, the company that brought the appeal to the high court, said it was "pleased that our longstanding arguments were today validated by the Supreme Court”.
It added: "As refiners both large and small face all time high renewable identification number (RIN) costs and are recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19, we urge EPA to immediately take action to make the RFS a workable program for US refiners and consumers."