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Biofuel supporters back in court

Orgs file brief supporting EPA's 2019 regulation allowing year-round E15 use.

August 26, 2020

3 Min Read
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Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, and the National Corn Growers Association on Friday filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit supporting and defending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2019 regulation that allowed year-round availability of E15.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate fuels and fuel additives and EPA regulates the vapor pressure of gasoline sold at retail stations during the summer ozone season to reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline, JD Supra reported. The Petroleum Marketers Association of America, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Association of Truckstop Owners and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America filed a letter with the EPA on March 23 addressing the Clean Air Act Reid Vapor Pressure requirements. The four requested a waiver of the RVP requirements due to the changes in gasoline demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EPA announced March 26 it would temporarily ease its enforcement of the nation's environmental laws, including the RVP requirements, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

As intervenors in the oil industry’s lawsuit against EPA’s regulation allowing year-round E15, Growth Energy, RFA, and NCGA are protecting the agency’s final rule, which extended the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) volatility waiver for E10 blends to E15 as well. The intervenors’ brief provides support for EPA’s position that parity in RVP regulations for E10 and E15 is consistent with the provisions of the Clean Air Act and the congressional intent behind those provisions. The organizations further point out that extending the volatility waiver from E10 to E15 is appropriate because the volatility of the fuel actually decreases as more ethanol is added into gasoline beyond E10.

“This disparate treatment of E10 and E15 made little sense,” the intervenors argue. “The volatility restrictions are intended to limit evaporative emissions, and the 1-psi allowance promotes the sale of ethanol-blended fuels. Yet adding 5% more ethanol to E10 uses more ethanol and lowers volatility and evaporative emissions. … The Final Rule removes a volatility restriction for E15 that EPA long ago removed for E10—enhancing consumer choice while reducing volatility and evaporative emissions. This Court should not allow the petroleum industry and its allies to stymie competition in this comparatively small but important portion of the U.S. transportation fuel supply.”

Source: Growth Energy, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

Related:

A year after EPA's long-awaited Reid vapor pressure waiver made year-round E15 use possible, even the COVID-19 slowdown hasn't wiped out the progress being made to grow E15's nationwide presence. – Ethanol Producer

The EPA released its final rule extending the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver to E15 during the summer months in May 2019. The rule allows the sale of E15 year-round, and modifies Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credit trading. – CstoreDecisions

EPA faces a late-November deadline to decide how many billion gallons of ethanol the oil refining industry must blend into the nation's fuel supply. The decision has been delayed because of a batter over small oil refiners' request for exemptions that corn farmers say would undercut the RFS. - Politico

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