Supreme Court hands biofuels a setback in waiver dispute

Hemp entrepreneurs looking for opportunities in biofuels were handed a setback Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with small refineries seeking more time to comply with federal mandates requiring them to blend more biofuels into their products.

The high court’s 6-3 decision gives the refineries additional time, further delaying efforts to boost biofuel usage such as ethanol in the United States.

Hemp seed is around 30% oil, giving some hemp operators optimism that the crop could one day contribute to expanded use of biofuels.

The refineries want more time to comply with parts of the Clean Air Act that require increasing biofuel quotas in gasoline and diesel products. Federal authorities initially gave small refineries extensions to 2011. Those extensions were extended.

Biofuel advocates say it’s past time for small refineries to comply and challenged the extensions.