The ethanol industry is leading a group to challenge Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt over using his waiver authority to exempt more than two dozen refineries from complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Washington Examiner reported.
Ethanol producers, farm unions, and others joined an Advanced Biofuel Association lawsuit over the exemptions, the report said.
The American Coalition for Ethanol's allies include the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, and the National Farmers Union, with the support of Farmers Union Enterprises, the Examiner reported.
"EPA left us with no choice but to challenge their systematic cuts to ethanol blending in the U.S. by distorting the intent of the law to grant secret hardship waivers to refineries, which in some cases exceed the definition of 'small' and fall short of demonstrating 'disproportionate economic hardship,'" said Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol.
"We cannot sit by and allow EPA to violate the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) which requires increasing the use of renewable fuels in the U.S.," Jennings said, the Examiner reported.
The groups said the criteria to grant waivers does not keep with the spirit of the law, and the EPA did not make the waivers public and subject to review.
Small refiners and their lobbyists have said that a 2017 decision, Sinclair v. EPA, gave the EPA discretion in how it grants waivers, but Mike McAdams, president and CEO of the Advanced Biofuel Association, disagreed.
"I have found this administration under Mr. Pruitt’s leadership at EPA to do everything they can to undercut the RFS across the board," McAdams said, the Examiner reported.
"There are all kinds of games here that need to be looked at," McAdams said.
"EPA is trying to undermine the RFS program under the cover of night," said Bob Dinneen, CEO and president of Renewable Fuels Association, Reuters reported.
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