Reports: White House to appeal RFS decision
The White House is planning to appeal a federal court decision that called into question a program exempting small oil refineries from the nation’s biofuel blending laws, Reuters has reported, setting up a political conflict for the Trump administration in this election year and a conflict between Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who has publicly said the ruling should not be appealed, and the White House.
In January, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the EPA had overstepped its authority in granting small refinery waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard because the RFS requires them to take the form of “extensions” after the year 2010, and none of the refineries had received them in the previous year.
Sources close to the ethanol industry said the deadline for the appeal is Monday and that EPA is expected to request a “rehearing” or an “en banc hearing.”
The sources also said that EPA will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Perdue has said publicly the administration should accept the ruling and make the policy from the ruling national.
Renewable fuels groups issued statements urging Trump to “stand by the RFS” and blaming Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, for masterminding the effort to convince the White House not to accept the ruling.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has said in the past that farmers have accepted Trump’s decision to confront China on trade issues, which has led to plummeting farm exports, but do not accept the administration’s handling of the RFS.
Biofuels groups and members of Congress have issued statements today opposing the appeal.
“It makes zero sense for the White House to put Trump’s name on a doomed court appeal, just to score some points with three highly profitable refineries in Wyoming, Utah, and Oklahoma,” said former Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., co-chair of Americans for Energy Security and Innovation.
“Those states are ruby red. The president needs to think about the millions of farmers and biofuel workers in swing states, where another farm bailout is not going to bring back the economy. This is a needless political error that will come back to haunt the president and every one of his allies on the ticket in Midwest states.”
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