In the last couple years the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) increased dramatically the number of Small Refinery Exemptions that were granted. The Small Refinery Exemptions were written into the Clean Air Act to allow "small" refineries to not blend ethanol because of economic hardship. In 2015 the EPA granted seven Small Refinery Exemptions, in 2016, 19 were granted and in 2017 the EPA granted 35 Small Refinery Wavers.

The result of all the Small Refinery Exemptions was that ethanol demand decreased along with decreasing the demand for corn by over 1.2 billion bushels! Just think how much higher cash corn prices would be if the USDA projected carryover was under 1 billion bushels instead of 1.8 billion bushels?

The Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers and National Farmers Union filed a lawsuit against the EPA charging that the EPA was not following the Clean Air Act and the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Last week the 10th Circuit Court ruled the EPA overstepped their authority granting three Small Refinery Exemptions granted in 2016.

Does this mean that all the other Small Refinery Exemptions granted by the EPA were illegal too?

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