Court denies rehearing challenge to EPA's E15 waiver

By Erin Voegele | January 15, 2013

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will not rehear a case filed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association against the U.S. EPA. The case challenged the EPA’s decision to permit the commercial use of E15 in 2001 and newer model year vehicles.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis called the court’s decision a “major victory for the renewable fuels industry” that will open the door for additional investment in E15 fueling technology. “Today’s result is a win-win for American consumers, providing them with both a choice and savings at the pump, and is a critical step in increasing market access,” he continued. “Not only will E15 help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it will also continue to create jobs here at home and revitalize rural economies, while also improving our environment by increasing the availability and use of a cleaner burning fuel.”

The court handed down its original decision in the matter in Aug. 2012. According to court documents, D.C. Circuit Chief Judge David Sentelle dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction. The decision noted that the petitioners, which included trade associations representing petroleum and food industries, had no standing to bring the action.

On Oct. 1, 2012 the American Fuel & Petroleum Manufacturers association filed a petition for a rehearing of the case, on the grounds that EPA overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act by granting partial waivers for the use of E15.

Following the court’s decision to deny that request, AFPM released a statement expressing disappointment in the court’s action. "We are disappointed that the D.C. Circuit will not rehear the case and will let stand a procedural block that prevents the court from reaching the merits of this important issue. We remain concerned that EPA's partial waiver will result in significant misfueling and will harm consumers. EPA has authorized the sale of an ethanol blend that virtually every automobile manufacturer has warned will damage existing vehicles," said AFPM General Counsel Rich Moskowitz.