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D.C. Circuit Court stays last-minute EPA waivers

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ordered a temporary last-minute suspension of the Trump administration’s exemptions for small refineries.

The stay is in response to an emergency claim filed Tuesday night by the Renewable Fuels Associations. On Thursday, the court ordered that the Environmental Protection Agency’s action to approve three petitions for small refineries “must be administratively suspended pending further court order.”

The order prevents the EPA from further processing the exemptions for small refineries, at least until the court has had “ample opportunity to review the urgency request for residence.” The EPA has until February 3 to respond to the request. All answers must be submitted to the court by February 10th.

The stay was approved approximately 36 hours after the EPA approved two exemption requests for 2019 and a petition for 2018 that – if persisted – would forego another 260 million gallons of the renewable fuel mixing requirements. Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of RFA, said: “We took these steps immediately to prevent the agency from causing further economic damage.”

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Robert Dunfee