The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Farmers Union (NFU) and American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) today welcomed news reports that President Trump has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to reject dozens of so-called “gap year” small refinery exemption petitions intended to circumvent the Tenth Circuit Court’s decision in RFA et al. v. EPA.
Meanwhile, the groups denounced CVR Refining and HollyFrontier Corporation’s last-minute request, filed late on September 4, for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit Court’s ruling. The decision in question overturned three improperly granted small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
NCGA, RFA, NFU and ACE were the four petitioners in the successful Tenth Circuit Court case, in which a panel of judges unanimously found EPA abused its authority by granting small refinery exemptions to CVR Refining and HollyFrontier that were not extensions of previously existing exemptions. In the wake of the decision, small refineries flooded EPA with 67 petitions for retroactive waivers—some dating back as far as 2011—in an attempt to establish a chain of continuously “extended” exemptions.
The four organizations offered the following statement in response to these developments:
“We are encouraged by reports that President Trump has called upon EPA to reject these absurd gap-year waiver petitions out of hand. If the reports are accurate, it is our hope that EPA swiftly acts upon the President’s directive and closes the door once and for all on the refiners’ brazen attempt to rewrite history.
“At the same time, we are disappointed, but not surprised, by the refiners’ eleventh-hour petition to the Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit decision. In April, these same refiners asked the Tenth Circuit to rehear the case, and the court swiftly and unanimously denied that request, and the Supreme Court should do the same. The decision does not warrant any further review or consideration. It is well-reasoned and based on a plain reading of the Clean Air Act, which clearly intended small refinery exemptions to be temporary and used only as a ‘bridge to compliance’ for certain eligible small refineries. Additionally, there are no conflicting decisions in other federal courts of appeal.
“It is also telling that EPA—the defendant in the original litigation—did not request a rehearing in the Tenth Circuit, nor did it join the refiners’ Supreme Court appeal on any aspect of the decision. Now, more than ever, our nation’s farmers and ethanol producers are counting on the RFS to provide market stability and certainty during an incredibly difficult and tumultuous time.”
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.