In response to an emergency motion filed Tuesday evening by the Renewable Fuels Association, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today ordered that EPA’s action on Tuesday to grant three small refinery petitions must be “administratively stayed pending further order of the court.”
The order prevents EPA from further processing the small refinery exemptions, at least until the court has had “sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay.” EPA has until February 3 to respond to the motion, and any replies are due to the court by February 10.
The stay comes roughly 36 hours after EPA approved two 2019 waiver petitions and one 2018 petition, which—if allowed to stand—would erase another 260 million gallons of Renewable Fuel Standard blending requirements.
“We took this action immediately to prevent the agency from doing further economic damage to an industry already reeling from the impacts of COVID-19,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper on Tuesday when the motion was filed. “To avert additional harm to the ethanol industry, EPA must be prevented from returning any compliance credits (RINs) to the unidentified refiners who were given these last-minute exemption handouts.”