October 31, 2020

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Appeals Court orders U.S. EPA to vacate total renewable fuel volume requirements for 2016

Appeals Court orders U.S. EPA to vacate total renewable fuel volume requirements for 2016
Photo courtesy of U.S. EPA.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a decision released last Friday, July 28, said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a mistake when setting standards for how much renewable fuel must be included in fuel sold in the United States. The EPA had sought to lower the amount of biofuels that are needed to be mixed into U.S. fuel.

A group of biofuels advocates challenged the EPA’s latest renewable fuel standards after they were released in 2016.

“We hold that the “inadequate domestic supply” provision authorizes EPA to consider supply-side factors affecting the volume of renewable fuel that is available to refiners, blenders, and importers to meet the statutory volume requirements.

“It does not allow EPA to consider the volume of renewable fuel that is available to ultimate consumers or the demand-side constraints that affect the consumption of renewable fuel by consumers.

“We therefore grant Americans for Clean Energy’s petition for review of the 2015 Final Rule, vacate EPA’s decision to reduce the total renewable fuel volume requirements for 2016 through use of its “inadequate domestic supply” waiver authority, and remand the rule to EPA for further consideration in light of our decision.”

“The fact the court has affirmed our position that EPA abused its general waiver authority by including factors such as demand and infrastructure in a waiver intended to be based solely on available supply is a great victory for consumers and the RFS program,” said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association.

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