Growth Energy petitions SCOTUS to review E15 ruling

By Erin Voegele | October 11, 2021

Growth Energy on Oct. 4 filed a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to review a July 2 decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that vacated a 2019 rule issued by the U.S. EPA allowing year-round sales of E15.

That EPA rule, issued in June 2019, extended the 1-pound-per-square-inch (psi) Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to E15. The rule found that E15 is substantially similar to E10 certification fuel and allowed for year-round sales of the fuel blend. Prior to the rule, E15 could not be used to fuel non-flex fuel vehicles in summer months.

Days after the EPA finalized the rulemaking, the American Fuel and Petroleum Manufacturers filed a petition for review with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments pertaining to the challenge were held in April 2021 before a panel of three judges.

The court on July 2 issued it opinion, holding that Section II of EPA’s rule exceeds the agency’s authority under Section 7545 of the U.S code, which addresses the regulation of fuels. As a result, the court vacated that portion of the rule. Section II addresses the application of the 1-psi waiver to E15.

Growth Energy, RFA and NCGA filed petition on Aug. 16 asking the full court to rehear the case, arguing that the decision handed down by the three-judge panel conflicts with precedent set by both the Circuit Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. That petition for rehearing was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Sept. 9. 

Growth Energy escalated its challenge to the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling on Oct. 4 by filing a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision.

In that petition, Growth Energy argues that the decision did not give proper deference to EPA, contradicted Congressional intent in promoting renewable fuels, and would suppress the expansion of higher-blend renewable fuels in the future. 

"In 2019, EPA paved the way for the sale of E15 year-round. Its decision was not only a win for the biofuels industry, our ag partners, and rural America, but for the environment and all drivers nationwide,” Growth Energy said. “Low-carbon biofuels like ethanol burn cleaner and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent compared to gasoline. E15 is approved for use in 95 percent of cars on the road; Year-round consumer access to this higher blend of biofuel will further decarbonize our current auto fleet. We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review this decision because it is not in line with important court precedent on statutory interpretation and because of its detrimental environmental impacts.” 

A full copy of the petition can be downloaded from the Growth Energy website