The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday heard oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by the National Chicken Council, National Meat Association, and National Turkey Federation challenging EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard regulations issued on March 26, 2010. The challenge is focused on a provision in the rules addressing ethanol plants built in 2008 and 2009 and the requirements they must meet to generate trading credits under the program.
A major issue in the oral arguments was whether the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy were properly before the Court. The ethanol industry intervened in the case to defend the rule and argued that the challenges must fail on both procedural and substantive grounds.
Following arguments, Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, said they are hopeful that the Court will act quickly to uphold this remaining element of the rules that is subject to legal challenge, given the policy underlying the provision to create a stable environment for investment in renewable fuel facilities.
Prior to arguments, on Friday environmental groups Friends of the Earth and National Wildlife Federation filed a motion voluntarily withdrawing their challenge of the RFS and support of the suit that has been brought by the meat and poultry groups.
"We are pleased that the environmental group petitioners realized that their challenges were so unlikely to succeed that they dismissed their case," Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said. "We only wish that they had come to this conclusion before wasting the resources of the government and biofuels producers who had to defend the challenges in briefing. Quite frankly, had they prevailed, which we think is unlikely, they could potentially have taken down the entire Renewable Fuel Standard."