In the renewable fuel dispute, the judges resolved the “extension” of the “exemption”


Opinion analysis

When Congress says that companies can apply for an “extension” of the exemption, are companies that allow the exemption to lapse eligible to apply for the “extension”?This is Friday the Supreme Court judge HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining v. Renewable Fuel Association. Six justices Said to be, And the three judges said no.

The background of the problem is the renewable fuel plan formulated by Congress in 2005. The plan aims to increase the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol. To further achieve this goal, the regulations require refineries to mix renewable fuels with their refined crude oil. The percentage of renewable fuels that must be blended in refineries is increasing every year.

Congress is concerned that the mixing requirement may have a disproportionately adverse impact on small refineries, so it includes a statutory exemption applicable to small refineries, which will last until 2011. It also instructs the Department of Energy to study whether mixing requirements will have a disproportionately detrimental impact on small refineries. Small refinery. If the department finds a disproportionate adverse effect, the decree will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to consider the application of individual small refineries and extend the exemption to as long as two years. The department did find a disproportionate adverse effect, and the EPA began to consider whether to provide extensions to small refineries that applied for extensions.

The case involves three small refineries, which have been exempted in the past but have rendered them invalid. Every refinery has applied for and received an “extension” of the exemption. The Renewable Fuels Association questioned the validity of the EPA’s decision to approve the extension on the grounds that it claimed that the three refineries were not eligible to apply for the extension. The RFA argued that “extension” only refers to refineries that have been continuously exempted, and does not refer to refineries that allow the exemption to expire. RFA believes that such refineries do not have an exemption that can be extended.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit agreed with the RFA’s interpretation of the “extension” and held that the EPA’s decision to grant the extension was invalid because the three refineries did not have the EPA’s “extension” exemption. In the opinion of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the majority of the Supreme Court disagreed with the opinion of the 10th Circuit and believed that refineries that allowed their previous exemptions to lapse could apply for and obtain an “extension” of their exemptions.

Most people first pointed out that the regulation does not include the definition of “extended”. Most people have concluded that although “extension” may have more than one meaning, its “ordinary” meaning includes circumstances in which the applicant allows its previous exemption to expire. Most people cited many sources to support their conclusions, including dictionary definitions, usage of the term in other regulations, usage of the term in daily conversations, and the structure of the regulations in which the term appeared.

Most people admit that, in some cases, Congress may use the term only to refer to the extension of continuously effective exemptions. However, most people conclude that there is no reason to believe that Congress wants the term to have any meaning other than “ordinary” in this case. Most people suggested that Congress could add restrictive language to give the term a stricter meaning, but Congress did not do so. ,

Most people describe the argument in which the RFA urges the court to adopt its preferred interpretation because that interpretation further promotes certain purposes that the RFA attributed to Congress. Most people refuse to consider these arguments because it can only speculate on why Congress might use the term to promote one of several possible alternative purposes, in which Congress did not state the purpose of extending the immunity.

In the end, most people pointed out that it did not grant Chevron respect EPA’s interpretation of the regulations because the government did not require it to follow the agency’s interpretation of the regulations.

Justice Amy Connie Barrett opposed the opinions of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Dissenting judges believe that although most people think that the congressional assignment of “extended” meaning is “possible,” it does not assign the term “ordinary meaning.” In the view of judges with different opinions, the “ordinary meaning” of “extended” does not include companies that allow their previous exemptions to lapse.

In other respects, the objection is the same as the majority opinion. It combines dictionary definitions, usage in other regulations, usage in daily conversations, and the structure of the regulations in which the term appears to support the ordinary meaning version of the term. Like the majority, the dissident acknowledged that Congress may use the term in some cases to have the broader meaning assigned to it by the majority, but the dissident found that there is no evidence that Congress expects it to have the exception in this case. Any meaning other than “ordinary meaning”. Like most people, opponents refuse to consider arguments based on Congress’s intention to use the term to promote a specific purpose because it is unwilling to speculate on the purpose of extending immunity.

I drew seven inferences from the opinions of this case. First, the court begins to search for the meaning of the term used in the statute by looking up the definition of the term in the statute. Second, since there is no legal definition of the term, the court will look for the “ordinary meaning” of the term. Third, the court looks for evidence of the term “usual meaning” in the dictionary, its usage in other laws and regulations, and its usage in daily conversations. Fourth, the court is willing to consider the structure of the statute that uses the term and the context in which the term is used, provided that there is convincing evidence that Congress uses the term to have a meaning different from its usual meaning. Fifth, if but only if there is an order When convincing evidence shows that Congress uses the term for this purpose, the court is willing to consider arguments based on the alleged purpose of Congress using the term. Sixth, the interpretation of ambiguous language in the institutional management regulations that peaked when the court issued its famous laws and regulations in 1984 tended to obey the institutional interpretation. Chevron Opinions dropped sharply. Seventh, in many cases, labeling judges as conservative Republicans or liberal Democrats is not helpful. In this case, the majority of judges consisted of five judges (Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh) who are generally regarded as conservatives. It consists of a judge (Judge Stephen Breyer) who is generally regarded as a liberal. The objections include one conservative (Barrett) and two liberals (Sottomayor and Kagan).



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