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In Case Over Biofuel Law Waivers, U.S. Court Denies Temporary Injunction

By Jarrett Renshaw

NEW YORK, May 17 (Reuters) - A U.S. biofuels trade group on Friday lost a bid for a temporary injunction on the granting of exemptions to refineries from laws that require them to blend biofuels into gasoline.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on Friday denied the Advanced Biofuel Association's request that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency be ordered to stop issuing hardship exemptions to small refineries.

The group had asked for the injunction while its ongoing challenge of the EPA's expansion of the waiver program was decided.

In a one-page order the court said the trade group "has not satisfied the stringent requirements for an injunction."

Michael McAdams, who heads the trade group, called the ruling "disappointing."

The waivers can exempt refineries with production capacity of 75,000 barrels per day or less from the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates U.S. refiners blend biofuels into the fuel pool or buy compliance credits from those who do.

Under President Donald Trump, EPA has vastly expanded the biofuel waiver program to save the oil industry money. This has angered Midwest farmers who say the policy destroys demand for corn-based ethanol and other biofuels at a time they are already struggling, putting the administration in the center of a fight between two key constituencies.

Whether the expansion has actually destroyed biofuel demand is a matter of intense debate.

There are oral arguments scheduled for June for the trade group's challenge of the expansion of the program. The group claims the agency illegally expanded the program, but the agency has said it acted within its discretion. (Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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