The operators of the Wynnewood refinery in Oklahoma now face an even stiffer challenge in their U.S. Supreme Court Renewable Fuel Standard fight over exemptions from mandated biofuels production.
The Biden administration and a coalition of biofuels groups filed response briefs on Wednesday in the Supreme Court and backed the ruling by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals which was against small refineries that sought exemptions from the mandates. The mandates are obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
POLITICO reported that the EPA and the biofuels groups argued in their briefs in support of the Denver federal appeals court which said only refineries that had received waivers every year from the EPA since the beginning of the RFS program should be eligible for new exemptions.
CVR Energy, the owner of the refinery at Wynnewood in southern Oklahoma and HollyFrontier Corp, operator of a refinery in Tulsa, Wyoming and Utah filed petitions last year challenging the Denver court ruling.
The Supreme Court recently said it would hear the case on April 27.
The RFS requires refineries and importers to ensure that minimum volumes of renewables are blended into the gasoline and diesel fuel manufactured for the US transportation fuel supply. The law also provides an exemption for refineries that process less than 75,000 barrels a day of crude a year.
The waiver started as a blanket exemption until 2011 when refineries were required to convince the EPA and Energy department that meeting the requirements would cause severe financial hardship.
The 10th Circuit court ruling, one that applies only to its Rocky Mountain jurisdiction stated that once a refinery went a year without a waiver, it would no longer be eligible for the exemptions. It was also a ruling that was considered to be in sharp reversal from the approvals granted under the Trump administration.