‘Disappointing’: Tri-state lawmakers react to SCOTUS ruling of RFS exemptions

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FILE – This June 8, 2021 photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(KCAU) — Gov. Kim Reynolds, as well as other tri-state lawmakers, reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision to expand the number of small refineries that can seek an exemption from certain renewable fuel requirements.

On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned the decision by the 10th Circuit on a 6-3 decision, which had stated that the EPA can only grant an extension of a waiver to a refinery, not grant new standalone waivers, and that the “disproportionate economic hardship” suffered by the refinery must be caused by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). For more information on the decision, click here.

The case involved amendments to the Clean Air Act made in 2005 and 2007 that require transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain specified amounts of certain renewable fuels. Small refineries were exempt from that requirement until 2011.


Gov. Kim Reynolds

“Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is a disappointing setback for Iowa agriculture and our renewable fuel industry. The decision not only undermines demand for ethanol and biodiesel, but creates an environment where waivers could grow exponentially.  

“Now more than ever we need the Biden Administration to take a clear stance against small refinery exemptions in order to limit the negative impact of this ruling. The Administration should now set robust annual renewable volume obligations and clear all additional hurdles for consumers to access cost-effective, clean-burning renewable fuels.  

“Despite what happened today, the fight is far from over and we will never back down in defense of this essential Iowa industry.” 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

Sen. Joni Ernst

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Rep. Randy Feenstra

Rep. Ashley Hinson

“Today’s Supreme Court decision would allow some oil refineries to have expired SRE waivers from biofuel blend mandates reinstated. This is a devastating blow to farmers in Iowa and across the nation. The Administration must not grant these exemptions to small oil refineries and should work to maintain the integrity of the renewable fuel standard, and I will continue calling on them to do so. I will never stop fighting for Iowa’s farmers and biofuel producers in Congress.” 

Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson


Gov. Pete Ricketts

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on small refinery exemptions is disappointing and hurts farm families across the state,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Regardless of the Court’s decision, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can still take steps to enforce a robust Renewable Fuel Standard.  I strongly urge President Biden and his administration to take clear steps to support our farm families, and to stop the broad use of waivers.”

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts

Sen. Deb Fischer

“I am extremely disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling, which comes on the heels of reports that the Biden administration is considering reducing blending obligations for refineries. These small refinery exemptions and the opaque process by which they are issued are unfair to the hardworking farmers and ethanol producers in the Heartland. When considering the 2021 and 2022 Renewable Volume Obligations as well as the 70 pending SREs, I strongly urge the Biden administration to uphold its commitment to strengthen and protect the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer

South Dakota

Sen. John Thune

“Small refinery exemptions are a blow to both farmers and the biofuels industry, which are facing a host of challenges as it is,” said Thune. “Just because the EPA will retain some latitude to grant waivers to oil refiners, today’s ruling by no means compels it to use its authority – nor should it. We know the costs of Renewable Fuel Standard compliance are ultimately recovered, which means waivers only serve to undermine the integrity of the RFS and enable oil companies to resist blending cleaner fuels for American consumers. I again call on the administration to work to uphold its commitment to farmers and to get the RFS back on track.”  

South Dakota Sen. John Thune

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