The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a lower court ruling that now leaves open an option for refineries to apply for blending exemptions for renewable fuels.

The executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, says the ruling is disappointing. “A really backwards reading of agency discretion, saying that because it might be read this way they have to read it this way….in all the work we’ve done, I’ve never had a court take that approach,” Shaw says.

He says the worst part of the ruling is it keeps the issue alive. “You can’t extend something you don’t have — and if the majority would have seen it that way — then the refinery exemption nightmare would have been over, because I think you’d be down to only two or three refineries that could even apply,” according to Shaw.

Shaw says the positive side is this only part of the lower court ruling and the rest still stands. “There are very strict criteria to get a refinery exemption from the RFS, and if those provisions are properly enforced, then the vast majority of these applications will be denied,” Shaw says.

The Supreme Court ruling overturned the lower court ruling that refineries have to have a history of receiving Renewable Fuel Standard blending exemptions to apply for an extension of an exemption.

Other groups and elected officials from Iowa have also expressed disappointment in the ruling.