Today, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association released the following statement after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied their petition for rehearing regarding the recent American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, et al. vs. EPA decision, in which the court vacated a 2019 regulation allowing year-round sales of a fifteen percent ethanol fuel blend (E15).
“Our petition for rehearing was an opportunity for the D.C. Circuit to remedy a decision that runs counter to legal precedent and which, if maintained, threatens our nation’s rural economy and progress on moving toward a clean energy future.
“Today’s petition denial is another hurdle to ensuring year-round access to low-carbon E15, however, due to timing, American drivers and retailers will be able to finish out the E15 summer driving season without disruption to their access to cleaner fuel choices at the pump. Moving forward, we continue to push for a permanent remedy long before the start of next year’s summer driving season.”
In June 2019, EPA issued its final rule extending the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) volatility waiver to E15, and it also found that E15 is substantially similar to E10 certification fuel, allowing the fuel to be sold year-round in conventional gasoline markets. Oil refiners soon challenged the rulemaking in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in an attempt to undermine the expansion of biofuels in our nation’s fuel supply.
On August 21, 2020, RFA, Growth Energy and NCGA filed a brief as intervenors in the oil industry’s lawsuit. The brief provided strong support for EPA’s position that parity in RVP waiver 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 pointed out that extending the RVP waiver from E10 to E15 is appropriate because the volatility of the fuel decreases as more ethanol is added into gasoline beyond E10. RFA, Growth Energy and NCGA also participated in oral arguments for the case.
On July 2, 2021, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the 2019 rule.
On August 16, 2021, the three organizations filed a petition for rehearing, asking the three-judge panel and the full court to rehear the case because the decision conflicted with binding precedent and had exceptionally significant consequences for the biofuels industry and others.