Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association, and the Renewable Fuels Association filed a petition for rehearing with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the recent American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, et al. vs. EPA decision, in which the court vacated a 2019 regulation allowing year-round sales of a fifteen percent ethanol fuel blend (E15). The petition asks the full court to rehear the case because of significant legal errors in the three-judge panel’s decision, handed down on July 2nd.
Together, the three national organizations stated: “If allowed to stand, this court’s decision to vacate EPA’s rulemaking to allow E15 to be sold year-round will have devastating consequences for the market expansion of homegrown biofuels. Petitioning for a rehearing is a critical next step in giving biofuel producers and farmers a fair shot in the marketplace and providing American drivers with better access to cleaner fuel choices. We are hopeful that the full court takes up the petition and reverses the panel’s decision.”
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a 2019 rule by the Environmental Protection Agency that lifted outdated restrictions on the sale of E15. The case, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, et al. vs. EPA, was a challenge by oil refiners to the rulemaking that allowed the year-round sale of E15.
In June 2019, EPA issued its final rule extending the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) volatility waiver to E15, and found that E15 is substantially similar to E10 certification fuel, allowing the fuel to be sold year-round in conventional gasoline markets. Oil refiners soon challenged the rulemaking in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in an attempt to undermine the expansion of biofuels in our nation’s fuel supply.
On August 21, 2020, Growth Energy, RFA, and NCGA filed a brief as intervenors in the oil industry’s lawsuit against EPA’s regulation allowing year-round E15. The brief provided strong support for EPA’s position that parity in RVP regulations for E10 and E15 is consistent with the provisions of the Clean Air Act and the congressional intent behind those provisions. The organizations further pointed out that extending the volatility waiver from E10 to E15 is appropriate because the volatility of the fuel actually decreases as more ethanol is added into gasoline beyond E10.
Growth Energy, NCGA, and RFA participated in oral arguments for the case on April 13, 2021.