AFPM sues EPA, seeks 2013 cellulosic ethanol quota waiver

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers legally challenged the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard with an Oct. 10 suit in federal appeals court for the District of Columbia.

Its Oct. 10 action, which also sought a waiver of EPA’s 2013 cellulosic biofuels quota, followed a similar lawsuit the American Petroleum Institute filed 2 days earlier (OGJ Online, Oct. 8, 2013).

“The agency has repeatedly disregarded the timelines established in the Clean Air Act to finalize standards prior to the beginning of the compliance year,” AFPM General Counsel Rich Moskowitz said. “This retroactive rulemaking harms refiners and must stop.”

AFPM argued that EPA relied on data that was not available for comment, used methods for setting cellulosic biofuel requirements that were secret, and continued to overestimate the amount of cellulosic fuel that will be produced and available for compliance. It asked the court to order the agency to meet deadlines in issuing the standards.

Its petition for EPA to waive the 2013 cellulosic biofuel quotas, which were issued Aug. 19, said EPA relied on questionable data and assurances by suppliers that there would be enough cellulosic ethanol produced. The DC circuit court rejected EPA’s 2012 biofuel quotas in January.

“EPA continues to ignore the admonition of the DC Circuit to establish realistic, not aspirational biofuel standards,” Moskowitz continued. “The agency’s reliance on statements made by biofuel producers with an interest in creating a large government mandate for their product has not worked and will not work.”

He indicated the agency belatedly acknowledged the problem as it issued the 2013 quotas when it promised to investigate possible shortfalls as it prepares its 2014 quotas. AFPM is cautiously optimistic that EPA will exercise its waiver authority and establish more reasonable renewable requirements when it announces those quotas, Moskowitz said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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