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US Supreme Court agrees to hear biofuel waiver case

January 13/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The US Supreme Court agreed to review a lower court ruling that severely limited the government's powers to exempt small refineries from the nation's biofuels law, rekindling a long-running dispute between the oil and corn industries, reported Reuters.

The decision came after appeals by refining companies that argued the 10th Circuit Court's decision last year had improperly deprived them of a method to avoid financial hardship granted by Congress.

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, refiners must blend billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel or buy credits from those that do - a law meant to help farmers and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

But small facilities under financial stress can also seek waivers from the obligation, and the Trump administration has dramatically ramped up the number of such exemptions granted to the industry - angering biofuel producers that claim the waivers undercut demand for their products.

After a challenge from biofuel industry groups, the 10th Circuit ruled last January that the US Environmental Protection Agency can only grant the so-called Small Refinery Exemptions to facilities that have received them continuously each year since 2010. That decision cast doubt over the entire waiver program, since most of the refineries securing waivers in recent years have not secured them continuously.

"We are disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision to review the case but will continue to vigorously pursue a resolution to the damage that small refinery exemptions do to the biodiesel industry," said Kurt Kovarik, spokesman for the National Biodiesel Board.

The Fueling American Jobs Coalition, which advocates on behalf of refiners, cheered the Supreme Court's decision, saying the review comes at an "urgent time" for refiners battered by the economic downturn.

The court is expected to hear the case in April, and a ruling could take several months.

As MRC wrote before, in October, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a federal strategy for addressing marine litter that includes broad efforts to incentivize recycling and build infrastructure both domestically and overseas. Internationally, up to 28 billion pounds of waste makes it into our oceans every year, harming marine life and coastal economies, says EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler. Marine litter is a top priority for this Administration, and working together with our global partners, we aim to solve the current growing marine litter problem in our shared oceans. According to EPA, five countries in Asia - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam - account for over half of the plastic waste input into the ocean. The majority of marine litter comes from land-based sources, such as littering and the mismanagement of waste, and the most effective way to combat marine litter is to prevent and reduce land-based sources of waste from entering the oceans in the first place.

We remind that Braskem has formed first partnership for removing household plastic waste from landfill in Greater Sao Paulo last year. The partnership forged between Braskem and Tecipar, the Brazilian company specializing in environmental engineering, will avoid some 2,000 tons of plastic waste annually from being discarded in the landfill of Santana do Parnaiba, a city in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo. This volume is equivalent to 36 million units of plastic packaging made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The partnership reinforces Braskem's commitment to the Circular Economy and is aligned with the business strategy of the company, which is engaged in supporting the development of the recycling chain and its market.

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:bioplastics, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, homopolymer PP, HDPE, petrochemistry, Braskem, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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