API suit challenges EPA’s 2013 ethanol volume requirements

The American Petroleum Institute petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency to review 2013 ethanol volume requirements the oil and gas trade association considers unrealistic. It filed the action Oct. 8 in federal appeals court for the District of Columbia.

“EPA’s unrealistic ethanol mandates for 2013 are simply bad public policy,” said Harry Ng, API’s vice-president and general counsel. “EPA issued this year’s requirements 9 months late and has once again mandated significantly more cellulosic ethanol than is available in the marketplace.”

The agency issued its 2013 ethanol volume quotas Aug. 19. It also said it would investigate cellulosic ethanol production capacity problems API and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers brought to its attention as it prepared its proposed 2013 quotas.

EPA mandated refiners use 4 million gal of cellulosic ethanol in 2013, but admitted that only 142,000 gal have been available for blending so far, according to API. The court rejected EPA’s 2012 cellulosic ethanol quota in January, Ng said.

“The 2013 mandates are an example of why EPA can’t be relied upon to implement the RFS effectively and in the interest of consumers,” he said. “Ultimately, Congress must fully repeal this unworkable and costly mandate.”

Renewable Fuels Association Pres. Bob Dineen called API’s petition frivolous. “While the 2013 [quotas] were issued later than anyone would have liked, the fact is the statute is crystal clear, and all stakeholders have been producing and blending at levels that will unquestionably meet the 2013 requirements,” he said on Oct. 8. “This is a lawsuit in search of a problem.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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