Iowa is one of eight states that joined an amicus brief

Jeff Jorgenson, ISA president, speaks in favor of an amicus brief filed yesterday in support of biofuels. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Eight states file amicus brief supporting renewable fuels

April 1, 2021

Attorney General Tom Miller filed an amicus brief yesterday in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting several renewable fuels and agricultural associations in their challenge to the EPA’s award of small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Miller announced that Iowa is one of eight states that joined an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court case HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC v. Renewable Fuels Association. The brief supports several renewable fuels and agricultural associations in their fight to uphold the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s ruling, which struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to grant several small refinery exemptions.

In January 2020, the Tenth Circuit Court determined EPA lacked the authority to grant the previously issued exemptions.

“The EPA’s practice of freely granting exemptions to the oil industry has undermined the promise of renewable fuels and harmed Iowa’s farmers and biofuels industries,” Miller said. “I’m grateful that a bipartisan coalition of states has joined us in this effort.”

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Jeff Jorgenson participated in a news conference announcing the amicus brief yesterday at the Iowa State Capitol. The Iowa Soybean Association supports the brief and would like to see the Supreme Court arrive at the same conclusion as the Tenth Circuit Court when they determined that EPA lacked the authority to grant exemptions.

“We are grateful for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and his team for defending the Tenth Circuit’s decision and Iowa’s economy, farmers, and rural communities,” Jorgenson told a group of policymakers and reporters at the Iowa State Capitol rotunda. “Over the past several years, the EPA’s small refinery exemptions have plagued the biodiesel and soybean industries, undercutting demand for more than 560 million gallons of biodiesel and hundreds of millions of bushels of soybeans.”

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig also spoke in favor of the document filed by the eight states.

“The EPA has a responsibility to support and promote renewable fuels and must continue to hold them accountable for upholding the Renewable Fuels Standard,” Naig said. “The renewable fuels industry plays a critical role in our state’s economy and workforce. Ethanol and biodiesel provide value-added markets for our farmers, jobs and economic activity for Iowa communities, and more affordable, cleaner-burning fuels for drivers at the pumps.”

Iowa Soybean Association farmer members and advocate members have been involved in speaking out against EPA’s use of small refinery exemptions (SRE) that are at the heart of this issue.

“Small refinery exemptions have devastated soybean demand, biodiesel production and have taken offline biodiesel production offline across the country,” said Michael Dolch, ISA director of public affairs. “Left unresolved, the SRE could affect the future of soybean demand and biodiesel production here in the state and across the country.”

Dolch said it was essential to have biofuels proponents like Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Naig and Miller watching out for Iowa farmers’ interests.