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Plans to Appeal the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals of Refinery Exemptions


Recent reports indicate that President Trump is contemplating an appeal of a recent 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision from earlier this year ruling against the government’s handling of refinery exemptions that lower demand for ethanol.  The ensuing ping-pong match in the press between renewable fuel interest groups and interest groups representing major oil companies is all centered around the nation’s core fuels policy, the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard.  The Federal Renewable Fuel Standard places a mandate on major oil companies, including refiners, to sell specific volumes of biofuels or purchase credits on the open market from those entities that blend biofuels to make up any shortfall from the obligation set on refiners and oil companies by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Lost in all of the press garnered by this issue is a fundamental flaw in the original fuel policy that has yet to be addressed since its implementation in 2005 and expansion in 2007.  In order for the retail motor fuels industry to safely store and dispense blended fuels that exceed 10 percent ethanol or 20 percent biodiesel and support an expanding renewable fuel standard, a major focus must be placed on the retail infrastructure investments necessary to accommodate the storage and dispensing of these blended fuels.  In Iowa alone, the conversion of existing retail infrastructure to accommodate the sale of 15 percent ethanol would cost business owners in the area of $1 billion dollars. 

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