Renewable & Transportation Fuels

Sutherland is the go-to counsel for the refined product and renewable fuel industries as they 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. Our experience with crude oil and other blendstocks or chemicals is unparalleled with regard to regulatory compliance and licensing at the federal and state level.

Sutherland's deep bench advises daily on 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) (LCFS). 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, Jones Act requirements, and the tax laws that incentivize transportation fuels.

Sutherland lawyers understand the EPA, U.S. Customs and Internal Revenue Service/TTB, and Department of Transportation (DOT) 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 attorneys bring well-honed skills to resolving and, when necessary, 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
Helps numerous clients resolve Renewable Identification Number (RIN) enforcement actions and commercial issues.

Represented more than a dozen refiners, importers and blenders of gasoline and diesel in settling allegations of Clean Air Act violations for using invalid RINs under the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

Assists renewable fuel clients in establishing appropriate compliance and training programs, vetting protocols, and Department of Transportation sampling and testing plans and security plans.
Counsels clients moving renewable and transportation fuel, as well as crude oil or hazardous materials, on the establishment of appropriate compliance and training programs, vetting protocols, and Department of Transportation (DOT) sampling and testing plans and security plans.

Counsels new entrants into fuels trading on registrations, compliance, licensing and reporting.
Counsels companies that are new to fuels trading, storage, import or export on registrations, compliance, licensing and reporting  pursuant to federal and state requirements.

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§  “Diversity at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP” to “Diversity at Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP”

§  “Diversity” section:

o   The firm’s emphasis on diversity is reflected in numerous ways throughout the firm, such as the manner in which we recruit lawyers and other employees, our work-life policies and our professional service efforts. We have been recognized for our achievements in diversity.  More importantly, we understand the significant role a diverse community plays in the firm's growth and development.

§  “Our Awards and Recognitions” section:

o   Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP continues to be recognized for its efforts to promote diversity in the workplace and in the legal profession. In 2016 we were named a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality,” having earned a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and we also were ranked a Top 100 Firm for Minority Attorneys by Law360. In addition, the firm was awarded the Gold Standard Certification for the fifth consecutive year by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum.

§  “Our Commitment” section:

o   Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is committed to promoting diversity within the firm and in the legal profession.  We believe that diverse skills, knowledge and viewpoints make us a stronger, more productive law firm.  We hire and promote qualified lawyers and other professionals regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.  We understand that diversity enhances our value to clients by allowing us to staff our client teams with professionals who possess broad experiences and a spectrum of perspectives.

o   Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP has a cross-office Diversity Committee with responsibility for supporting and enhancing our firm culture.  Our committee has helped coordinate and lead a number of efforts to advance diversity within our firm and the community. Affinity groups at the firm serve as support networks for attorneys of color; women lawyers; and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender attorneys.

o   We are committed to working with our clients as they pursue the common goal of a professional workplace where opportunity is available to all.

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