EPA seeks extension in SRE challenge filed with US Supreme Court

By Erin Voegele | November 05, 2020

The U.S. EPA on Nov. 4 filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for a one-month extension to file its response to a petition filed by HollyFrontier and Wynnewood Refining in September seeking a review of the ruling on small refinery exemptions (SREs) handed down by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2020.

The writ of certiorari was filed on Sept. 4 and placed on the Supreme Court’s docket on Oct. 13. The government’s response is currently due on Nov. 12. The EPA is seeking to extend that deadline to Dec. 14. “This extension is requested to complete preparation of the government’s response, which was delayed because of the heavy press of earlier assigned cases to the attorneys handling this matter,” the EPA said in the motion.

The Renewable Fuels Association issued a statement in response to the EPA’s motion. “We were surprised to see EPA signaling its intention to weigh in on the petition filed by HollyFrontier for Supreme Court review of the Tenth Circuit’s decision,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “EPA decided not to get involved in earlier efforts for a rehearing of that properly decided opinion, so it’s unclear why EPA would want to weigh in now.  If EPA decides to take a position on the request for further judicial review, we hope it’s to convey such review is unnecessary and falls far short of the established standards for Supreme Court’s involvement. 

“It’s time to move forward and put an end to the uncertainty and instability of small refinery exemptions, which that have plagued the RFS for the past three to four years,” he continued. “EPA can and should adopt the Tenth Circuit decision nationwide.  It also should immediately reject the 17 remaining ‘gap year’ waiver petitions and apply the decision to the 35 pending requests for 2019 and 2020 compliance exemptions. It’s time to quiet the waters of the RFS program. Enough is enough.”

Additional information is available on the Supreme Court website