UAI files brief supporting challenge to E15 court ruling

By Erin Voegele | November 03, 2021

Nearly a dozen groups, led by the Urban Air Initiative, filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 25 in support of a petition for certiorari filed by Growth Energy earlier in the month asking the court to review a July 2 decision handed down by a lower court that vacated a 2019 U.S. EPA rule allowing year-round E15 sales.

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. 

The Oct. 25 brief in support of Growth Energy’s petition was filed by UAI, National Farmers Union, Farmer Union Enterprises Inc., Big River Resources LLC, Glacial Lakes Energy LLC, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, Fagen Inc., Jackson Express Inc., Jump Start Stores Inc., Little Sioux Corn Processors LLC, and South Dakota Farmers Union.

A full copy of the brief can be downloaded form the Supreme Court website