Biofuel groups oppose Big Oil's requested delay in RFS challenge

By Erin Voegele | April 22, 2014

On April 11, less than a week after oral arguments were heard in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the U.S. EPA’s final rule for the 2013 renewable fuel standard (RFS), the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers filed a motion to sever and hold in abeyance their challenge to the 2013 RFS. On April 16, the Renewable Fuels Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization and Growth Energy filed a joint response to the court, opposing that motion.

In their motion, the API and AFPM ask the court to sever issues raised by the two organizations from the remainder of the litigation and establish a new docket for those issues with a newly assigned case number. The motion requests that that new case be held in abeyance, or suspension, pending EPA’s completion of reconsideration proceedings, subject to a requirement to file periodic status reports regarding the progress of the reconsideration proceedings. The petition also asks the court to order parties to file motion or motions to govern further proceedings in the new case within 30 days after the conclusion of EPA’s reconsideration proceedings.

The response filed by the RFA, BIO and Growth Energy argues that the petitions have been fully briefed, responded to and argued. “No purpose is served by pulling API and AFPM’s petitions back a week after argument, to hold them indefinitely and consolidate them with hypothetical later-filed petitions,” said the biofuel groups in their filing. “EPA’s pending proceedings on reconsideration concern only the cellulosic biofuel standard, and those aspects of API and AFPM’s petitions have already been severed as case No. 14-1033…The remainder of API and AFMP’s issues are part of this case and have been briefed and argued.”

The lawsuit challenging the 2013 RFS was originally filed by Monroe Energy LLC in October 2013. The case was later consolidated with similar challenges filed by the API and AFPM. Growth Energy, the RFA, BIO and National Biodiesel Board have intervened in the case in support of the EPA.

On April, 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in the case. For additional information on the hearing, please see “Court hears oral arguments in challenge to 2013 RFS standard.”