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Biofuel Groups Challenge EPA Rule on 2014-2016 Renewable Fuel Standards

January 15, 2016
On Friday, January 8th, 2016, BIO, along with the Americans for Clean Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers and the Renewable Fuels Association, filed the first lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s final 2014-2016 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) program. The group filed a formal petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and will file a preliminary, non-binding listing of issues to be raised in the Court at a later date.

On November 30, 2015 the EPA issued its final 2014-2016 RFS rule, waiving biofuel targets below the statutory requirements set by Congress. In a release, BIO stated that the “final rule for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is an unnecessary, unlawful about face for a program that was successfully driving development of cleaner biofuel technologies and reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”

Among other things, the petitioners intend to demonstrate that EPA’s interpretation of its general waiver authority under the Renewable Fuel Standard was contrary to the statute. By focusing on fuel distribution capacity and demand rather than supply, and by failing to consider surplus RINs from prior years, the Agency erroneously concluded that there was an inadequate supply of renewable fuel to justify a waiver of the levels established by Congress.

The RFS established the market space necessary to support biofuel competitors to the oil industry. Biofuels help create jobs for Americans, spur growth in the economy, and brings greener and cleaner fuel to American drivers. Biofuels are also essential to energy security by reducing the United States’ dependence on foreign oil and mitigating the impact volatile global oil prices have on all facets of the economy. This means consumers will pay less for gasoline at the pump.