NPRA, other groups ask court to overturn EPA's E15 waiver

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 4 -- The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and two other oil and gas associations petitioned a federal appeals court on Jan. 3 to review and overturn the US Environmental Protection Agency’s decision allowing fuels with up to 15% ethanol to be used in model year 2007 or newer vehicles.

The Western States Petroleum Association and Independent Liquid Terminals Association joined NPRA in the legal challenge. “The organizations challenging EPA’s decision believe the agency has acted unlawfully in its rush to allow a 50% increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline without adequate testing and without following proper procedures,” NPRA Pres. Charles T. Drevna said on Jan. 3. “As a result, we had no choice but to take this issue to court.”

EPA issued the waiver on Oct. 13, 2010, in response to a petition by Growth Energy, an ethanol advocacy group. The US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia upheld EPA’s action on Dec. 21.

NPRA said that it and the two other groups will argue in their lawsuit that EPA does not have legal authority under the Clean Air Act to approve a partial waiver allowing the use of E15 in some engines but not in others.

It said that it also will argue that EPA based its partial waiver decision on new data submitted to the public rulemaking docket on the day before it announced the partial waiver decision, thereby providing no time for stakeholder review or meaningful public comment which the federal Administrative Procedure Act requires.

NPRA, along with recreational, work equipment, and transportation engine manufacturers, have expressed concern that E15’s introduction without more complete tests potentially could damage engines.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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