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Denied . . . Supreme Court shoots down challenge to E15

The Supreme Court this week opted not to hear a petition asking it to reverse the DC Circuit Court’s August 2012 decision to dismiss challenges to the EPA’s allowance of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) in 2001 and newer vehicles.The petition was submitted by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and other opponents.

“The highest court in the land has spoken – they have unequivocally rejected the attempts of Big Oil and other opponents of ethanol to challenge the EPA’s sensible decision to permit the sale of E15. Now that the final word has been issued, I hope that oil companies will begin to work with biofuel producers to help bring new blends into the marketplace that allow for consumer choice and savings,” said Tom Buis, CEO, Growth Energy. (In March 2009, Growth Energy filed the Green Jobs Waiver, which sought approval to blend up to 15 percent ethanol in gas from the cap of 10 percent ethanol. It has been fighting opponents at legal and legislative levels ever since.)

While not focused on E15 itself, the API’s meeting yesterday is just one recent example. API met with administration officials and legislators on what it called “the need to end the nation’s unworkable biofuels mandate, known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”

“A growing chorus of concerned groups is urging Congress to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard before the mandate potentially puts consumers in harm’s way, hurts the economy and disrupts the nation’s fuel supply,” said Jack Gerard, API president and CEO. “The biofuels mandate was originally intended to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but increasing domestic production of oil is accomplishing that goal.”

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During the Fuel Ethanol Workshop earlier this month, Bob Dinneen, president and CEO, Renewable Fuel Association (RFA), pointed out that even with increasing domestic production of oil, prices at the pump are not falling. He added that the House Energy Committee also should be inquiring about the carbon effects of tar sands and tight oil.

API’s Gerard added that higher amounts of ethanol required to be blended could be unsafe for most vehicles on the road today. The API cited a study by the Coordinating Research Council that “millions of cars could be severely damaged by fuel blends that contain more than 10 percent ethanol.”

But, the Department of Energy said that the study’s test protocol was speculative, reported Kristy Moore, director of technical services, at the RFA.

The fight goes on. 

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