Loading...

Corn Growers, Others Seek Rehearing on Fuel Blend Standard

August 20, 2021 by Dan McCue
A corn field in Iowa. (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON — The National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, and Growth Energy asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision to disallow year-round sales of a 15% ethanol fuel blend.

In a petition filed with the court on Thursday, the plaintiffs asked the full court to rehear the case, claiming the three-judge panel that handed down the court’s original decision on July 2 made significant legal errors.

“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,” the plaintiffs said in a joint statement.

“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,” they said.

The underlying lawsuit stems from a June 2019 decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to extend a mechanism called the Reid Vapor Pressure volatility waiver to E15 fuel.

The measure of vapor pressure relates to the speed at which liquid fuel evaporates.

Since the late 1980s, the EPA has regulated the “vapor pressure” of gasoline sold at retail stations during the summer ozone season — running roughly from June 1 to Sept. 15 — to reduce evaporative emissions that are harmful to the ozone.

In June 2019, the Trump Administration’s EPA revised its interpretation of a provision of the Clean Air Act that grants a 1.0 psi summertime waiver of Reid vapor pressure requirements. 

In doing so, it found that E15 is substantially similar to E10 certification fuel, making biofuel blends like E15 available to motorists year-round.  

The plaintiffs claim oil refiners challenged the rulemaking in the D.C. Circuit to undermine the expansion of biofuels in our nation’s fuel supply.

On July 2, in a ruling that was widely applauded by the oil and gas industry, the D.C. Circuit upheld the 2019 rule, the unanimous three-judge panel holding the phrase “contains 10%” in the relevant statutory text did not extend the 1.0 psi RVP waiver from E10 to E15.

“We are glad the court unanimously found that EPA lacks the authority to grant an RVP waiver to fuel containing more than 10% ethanol, consistent with how EPA interpreted its authority for nearly 30 years prior,” said Chet Thompson, president and CEO of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

The group is a party to the original lawsuit.

“There is no ambiguity in the statute and the previous administration’s reinterpretation overstepped the will of Congress,” he said.

On Friday, an AFPM spokesperson told The Well News, “EPA doesn’t have any different authority today than it did last month when the court ruled unanimously that the agency overstepped its bounds, and decades of precedent, by applying a Clean Air Act waiver to E15 We’re confident another review of this matter will yield the same result.”

Paul G. Afonso, senior vice president and chief legal officer of the American Petroleum Institute, also commented Friday, saying, “We appreciate the court’s recognition that EPA was clearly outside of its current statutory authority by extending the RVP waiver to E15 fuel.”

The case is American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, et al. vs. EPA.

In The News

Health

Voting

Energy

Texas Power Woes Linger as New England Girds for Deep Freeze

Rising temperatures offered some hope Friday for frustrated Texans days after they lost power — and in many cases heat — in... Read More

Rising temperatures offered some hope Friday for frustrated Texans days after they lost power — and in many cases heat — in a deadly winter storm, while a new wave of frigid weather rolling into the Northeast led communities to close schools and open warming centers. Wind chills... Read More

January 30, 2023
by Dan McCue
DOE Provides $118M Boost to Domestic Biofuel Industry

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy is providing $118 million in funding for 17 projects intended to accelerate the... Read More

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy is providing $118 million in funding for 17 projects intended to accelerate the production of sustainable biofuels for the nation’s transportation and manufacturing needs.  The selected projects, all being carried out at universities and private companies, will drive the... Read More

January 30, 2023
by Dan McCue
Administration Seeks Applications for $47M in Funding Aimed at Advancing Hydrogen Research

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is making a total $47 million in funding available to accelerate the research, development and... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is making a total $47 million in funding available to accelerate the research, development and demonstration of affordable clean hydrogen technologies. The funding will be administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, which is looking... Read More

Taxes Slow India's Solar Power Rollout but Boost Manufacture

BENGALURU, India (AP) — In May last year Fortum India, a subsidiary of a Finnish solar developer, won the bid... Read More

BENGALURU, India (AP) — In May last year Fortum India, a subsidiary of a Finnish solar developer, won the bid for a solar power project in the state of Gujarat. The project was due to be completed three months ago and would have generated enough electricity... Read More

January 30, 2023
by Dan McCue
ExxonMobil Affiliate to Invest $560M in Massive Renewable Diesel Facility

IRVING, Texas — ExxonMobil affiliate, Imperial Oil Ltd., is investing roughly $560 million to move forward with construction of the... Read More

IRVING, Texas — ExxonMobil affiliate, Imperial Oil Ltd., is investing roughly $560 million to move forward with construction of the largest renewable diesel facility in Canada.  According to a statement issued by ExxonMobil, the project at Imperial’s Strathcona refinery is expected to produce 20,000 barrels of... Read More

January 30, 2023
by Dan McCue
Hydrogen Production Hub Proposed for US Gulf Coast

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Chevron is among the founders of a new consortium that has proposed developing a large-scale hydrogen... Read More

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Chevron is among the founders of a new consortium that has proposed developing a large-scale hydrogen hub on the U.S. Gulf Coast. According to a press release on the multinational energy company’s website, the project will be named “HyVelocity Hub” and consist... Read More

News From The Well