The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a challenge to the EPA’s allocation of Small Refinery Exemptions, saying they lack the jurisdiction to offer a written opinion on the case.
At issue was a challenge brought by the Advanced Biofuels Association over EPA’s adjusted rationale for granting waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard to small refineries who claimed compliance with the statute would cause them undue economic harm. During oral arguments in October, the three-judge panel hearing the case struggled with what would ultimately lead to the case’s dismissal: a lack of “final agency action” that would allow for a challenge. But the decision from the court did criticize EPA for how it has handled SRE allocations.
“To be sure, the EPA’s briefing and oral argument paint a troubling picture of intentionally shrouded and hidden agency law that could have left those aggrieved by the agency’s actions without a viable avenue for judicial review,” the decision says.
In a statement, the Advanced Biofuels Association said it was disappointed in the ruling, but pointed out the lawsuit “put significant pressure on EPA to increase transparency, driving the creation of EPA’s Small Refinery Exemption Dashboard. This decision also establishes a clearer legal pathway for EPA’s change in methodology to once again be challenged in the D.C. Circuit, which several parties have already filed.”
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