Practice Areas & Industries: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP


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Practice/Industry Group Overview

For several decades, Sutherland has helped the refined product and renewable fuel industries navigate and capitalize on federal and state regulations.

Sutherland counsels dozens of refiners, producers, blenders, importers and traders of refined products, renewable fuel and associated credits. We provide legal guidance on regulatory compliance, in enforcement proceedings, with negotiating contractual provisions and in litigation when commercial disputes arise. We work with every form of transportation fuel, including conventional and reformulated gasoline, diesel, blendstock for oxygenate blending (such as RBOB and CBOB), ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, CNG, LNG and biogas.

Sutherland is the preeminent law firm in helping the world’s largest companies navigate the federal and state rules governing renewable fuels and associated credits (for example Renewable Identification Numbers [RINs] under the Renewable Fuel Standard [RFS] and credits under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard). Our attorneys have an unparalleled understanding of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) complex regulatory regime and fuel specifications governing transportation fuels and heating oil, including RFS, the Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel Program (ULSD), the Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) and Anti-Dumping Regulations and GHG reporting. We are active in policy actions at EPA, and bring our clients and agency officials together to discuss program issues and direction. Our team is also well-versed in the customs laws governing imports and exports, as well as the tax laws that incentivize transportation fuels.

Sutherland lawyers understand the EPA, U.S. Customs and Internal Revenue Service enforcement regimes, and have worked with multiple companies responding to compliance issues at these agencies. With years spent working on contracts for refined products, we are at the forefront of developing and negotiating contractual terms between counterparties for the trade of transportation fuel, RINs and LCFS credits. When disputes arise between counterparties, our commercial litigation attorneys bring well-honed skills to litigating these matters.

Why Sutherland
A proven record.
For more than four decades Sutherland’s energy and environmental lawyers have guided transportation fuel stakeholders through a constantly changing regulatory environment.

Industry experience. We have a large, diverse client base in the sector, including some of the world’s largest gasoline blenders and importers; diesel importers and traders; renewable fuel producers importers and traders.

Thoughtful leadership. Our lawyers are at the forefront of renewable fuels law and are frequently quoted in the press on new EPA regulations and policy developments.

Enforcement experience. We have represented dozens of companies in EPA mobile source enforcement proceedings.
Comprehensive services. Our multidisciplinary team advises renewable fuels clients on the entire range of issues they face, including excise tax credits and customs laws.

Nuts and Bolts
Our comprehensive service offerings for transportation fuels include:

  • Federal and state regulatory, compliance and enforcement
    • The Clean Air Act
    • The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS1 and RFS2)
    • Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel Program (ULSD)
    • Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) Regulations and Anti-Dumping Regulations
    • Audits, voluntary disclosure and representation during enforcement proceedings
    • Policy developments affecting alternative and renewable fuels
    • California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS)
    • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Rule
  • Commercial advice
    • Commercial terms for the purchase and sale of transportation fuels, renewable fuels and RINs
    • Strategies for mitigating commercial and compliance risks

Take Action
As transportation and renewable fuel players work to stay on top of regulations and legislation, Sutherland attorneys help to ensure that our clients remain in compliance and are able to maximize new incentive opportunities.

Selected Experience
Sutherland helps numerous clients resolve Renewable Identification Number violations.

Sutherland advised over a dozen refiners, importers and blenders of gasoline and diesel in settling allegations of Clean Air Act violations for using invalid RINs under RFS.

Sutherland helps international renewable diesel producer obtain first EPA foreign producer registration.
Sutherland represents a producer of renewable diesel in its acquisition of the first EPA foreign producer registration for RIN generation under the RFS program.

Regulatory understanding helps Sutherland pave way for plant acquisition.
Sutherland represented one of the largest U.S. ethanol producers in the acquisition of a new facility. Our services included securing an EPA ruling that the facility was eligible to generate RINs.