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Regarding: The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court’s finding against the U.S. EPA Relating to Its Improper Issuances of Small Refinery Exemptions


The 10th Circuit Court found what has been hiding in plain sight now for two years. The EPA has and continues to brazenly abuse its authority by causing billions of gallons of high-carbon fuels to replace their low-carbon alternatives in the nation’s fuel tank. When Congress passed the RFS into law in 2007, it created the small refiner exemption program to allow the EPA the ability to provide relief on a case-by-case basis in the early days of the law if a particular small refiner might find itself facing “sever economic harm” directly associated with their transition to compliance with the then-new law. It also allowed for the extension of one or more of those waivers if the exempted refiner needed another year to come into compliance successfully.  It was meant as a safeguard to ensure that all refiners could successfully transition to compliance. It was not meant as a way for some of the largest companies on the planet to stop complying with a law they had long been compliant with. But that’s what happened, and the agency charged with protecting the nation’s environment is the one who made it so. 

Over a decade after the original law was passed, EPA’s new leadership under former Administrator Pruitt and a small cadre of refinery industry insiders secretly concocted and implemented a scheme to use the SRE program for a whole new purpose, to reverse the will of Congress and kill the RFS program. Ever since EPA started doling out waivers like Halloween candy, as onw refinery executive put it, in the spring of 2018, their secret plan has been working as designed. It has triggered a wave of plant closures in the renewable fuel sector, taken many billions of dollars out of the clean fuel and agricultural economies, and created billions in windfall profits for suddenly non-compliant oil companies. The scheme has been particularly effective at stunting the growth of the low-carbon advanced biofuels industry, where all of the program’s growth is slated to now come from according to the RFS statute.

The 10th Circuit’s ruling makes it clear that the EPA will be held accountable to administer the law rather than promoting the blatant abuse of it. We are grateful for that.We are also hopeful that current Administrator Wheeler will take this ruling as an opportunity to redirect the EPA onto a new course at EPA based on open, transparent, and even-handed compliance.    


About World Energy

World Energy is one of the largest and longest-serving advanced biofuel suppliers in North America. Founded in 1998, the company operates biodiesel manufacturing plants in Houston, Texas, Natchez, Miss., Rome, Ga., Harrisburg, Pa., Hamilton, Ont., In Paramount, Calif. the company operates a renewable diesel refinery and the first commercial Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) facility in the world. The company also has distribution hubs throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit

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