Valero, AFPM ask SCOTUS to consider RFS point of obligation issue

By Erin Voegele | January 06, 2020

Valero Energy Corp. and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether the U.S. EPA is required to consider petitions to change the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

A petition filed with the court on Dec. 30 notes that the Clean Air Act’s RFS program requires EPA to undertake annual notice-and-comment rulemaking to determine annual renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for the U.S. transportation fuel supply. The petition states that the first of three annual required elements is to determine the point of obligation. 

“EPA admits that it initially placed the point of obligation on refineries and importers, but not on blenders, for reasons of administrative convenience,” Valero and AFPM said in the petition. “EPA has repeatedly refused to reexamine that placement in annual rulemaking, and it denied petitions for rulemaking seeking reconsideration outside the statutorily-mandated annual assessment.”

The petition asks the court to determine “whether the requirement that EPA ‘shall’ make a ‘calendar year’ determination of the ‘appropriate’ point of obligation requires EPA to consider in each annual rule whether the point of obligation remains appropriate,” and “whether EPA can evade the annual duty by partitioning the point of obligation into a one-time collateral proceeding that ignores key evidence, relies primarily on the agency’s own convenience, and claims more deference from a reviewing court than an annual rule would receive.”

The EPA’s response to the petition filed by Valero and AFPM is due Feb. 3. Additional information is available on the U.S. Supreme Court’s website