Federal court denies E15 appeal

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An appeal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow E15 into the fuel supply was denied this week in federal court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a rehearing on the EPA decision that put E15, fuel that is 15 percent ethanol, on the market.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association was among the groups petitioning the court to reconsider a dismissal of the appeal in October.

Dissenting Judge Brett Kavanaugh said the EPA waiver “plainly violates” statutory text, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

“The panel’s decision to throw out the suit on standing grounds is mistaken in multiple independent ways, in my respectful view,” Judge Kavanaugh wrote in his dissent. “And the panel’s standing holding is problematic not only because of the erroneous standing law that it creates, but also because it is outcome-determinative in a case with significant economic ramifications for the American food and petroleum industries, as well as for American consumers who will ultimately bear some of the costs.”

“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,” Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, said in a statement.

Growth Energy represents ethanol producers.

“Today’s order leaves in place an earlier decision by the court denying challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow for E15 to enter the U.S. market,” Buis said. “Furthermore, this is a major victory for the renewable fuels industry and opens the door for further investment in new fueling technology to offer E15 to consumers.”

In August, a three-member panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed a challenge by several industry associations, including the NMMA, to allow E15 into the fuel supply.

The 2-1 decision was disappointing but procedural, Cindy Squires, the NMMA’s chief counsel of public affairs and director of regulatory affairs, told Soundings Trade Only in August.

Two judges said the plaintiffs did not have grounds to bring a case based on court precedents and, therefore, could not consider the merits of the arguments presented. The dissenting judge said the EPA had clearly overstepped its authority.

Opponents to the waiver then requested an en banc review, which means it asked that all of the judges of the D.C. Circuit Court rule on the case, creating a chance to change case law and review the plaintiffs’ arguments on the merits.

However, the court once again refused to grant the review, court documents show.

“The panel’s standing holding is outcome-determinative because EPA will lose if we reach the merits,” Judge Kavanaugh wrote in his dissent. “The E15 waiver plainly violates the statutory text.

“The statute does not allow a waiver for a new fuel if the waiver would cause failure of emissions standards in cars manufactured after 1974,” Kavanaugh continued. “The evidence is undisputed that this E15 waiver would cause failure of emissions standards in cars manufactured through 2000. Yet EPA still granted the waiver. EPA’s action simply cannot be squared with the statutory text.”

In December, the national motor club AAA voiced opposition to E15 in the fuel supply.

“With little consumer knowledge about E15 and less than 5 percent of cars on the road approved by automakers to use that fuel, AAA is urging regulators and the industry to stop the sale of E15 until motorists are better protected,” the group said in a statement.

Click here for the Growth Energy release.

— Reagan Haynes


10 comments on “Federal court denies E15 appeal

  1. Roger Zavacki

    This is just bad news for America. Gas stations will now start selling E15 Ethanol, which has been scientifically proven to be destructive to Lawn Mowers and Outboard motors, as well as all other marine engines. The only solution is for further research to be done for the additive Isobutanol. The production of Ethanol needs to be stopped and it needs to be stopped NOW. The only people making out in the production of Ethanol, are the EPA officials and the corn growers. The American public is also suffering due to rising costs of beef and dairy, due to the stortages of corn, from both the droughts and the production of Ethanol.

  2. Marilyn DeMartini

    The ethanol and “alternative” fuel producers obviously have a better paid and stronger lobby. The EPA makes statutes that are not LAWS according to our Constitution, but we still have to follow them as if they are–even if they damage our engines, cost us more money for repair and simply are ineffective and inefficient at changing our dependance on petroleum fuels. We have plenty of fuel, we just are not allowed access to it.
    We appreciate the NMMA and other associations’ efforts to fight this uphill battle!

  3. Wilson Wright

    YOUR government at work for YOU !.

    Yes, I mind paying higher prices in the grocery so I can put junk in my fuel tank.. But my government knows best.

  4. westmichjim

    One special interest group is allowed to dictate the future of our food prices, fuel prices, cost of redevelopment of the entire gasoline powered industry, and cause widespread havoc upon those people unable to afford to purchase higher cost engines that can handle this change. The time for E-15 will come, but it is not now!!

  5. Scarab

    For those of you who have lawn equipment, boats,atv’s and most cars manufactured before 1999 you will be very pleased with the EPA’S dicision to introduce E15 when you are replacing seals,fuel lines and a host of other problematic parts that are not ethanol friendly! Also, ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline but will produce less btu’s than its equivalent, so check your fuel economy with a tank of E15, then fill your vehicle up with a tank of premium from a gas station that sells it with out ethanol in it and tell me which blend of fuel gets better milage! I believe the EPA is doing way more harm than good at this point, they have forced regulations which make it difficult to keep prices down in the boating market and a whole slew of other industries. I’m all for a clean environment, I’m all for renewable fuels but this is not the way to do it and the outcome is not going to be good for a lot of people! I personally believe that our government and its agencies have lost nearly all of their credability and are no longer able to function as they were once intended. Its time for a change

  6. Curtis

    Just goes to show you whether it is right or wrong it who ever has the most money always wins.
    Bad for engines plus worse gas mileage. There is a good combination.

  7. Chris in Florida

    Wonderful, more garbage ethanol in our gas. Being a life long boater I have seen direct negative results from E10 in my boats. Loss of mileage, damage to engine components and the ultimate slap in the face, higher priced fuel.

    The is nothing more than a scam by the government. They think if they say it loud enough and enough times the boating public will believe their lies. The fact is this. 10% ethanol gas reduces fuel efficiently, causes engine damage, destroys composite fuel tanks and costs more. Not only that they are failing to tell you it takes 2 gallons of diesel fuel in harvesting and refinery equipment to produce one gallon of ethanol. That is basically spending 20% to save 10%. In other words, one step forward and two steps back.

    I refuse to use this crap in my boat. I use a fuel delivery service for my boat gas that delivers non ethanol gas.

    The ethanol in gas is a failure and they are afraid to admit it and trying to rectify it. Either that or it’s all about money, corn farmers lining the pockets of the lobbyists. At our expense!!

  8. C Moore

    This is about getting off the oil standard. Getting rid of older oil (gas) using machines opens the way for the technologies of the future.
    Coal, Oil, gas are bad and passe , we need to embrace at any cost cleaner energy sources.

    It’s electric for the short term followed by impulse power in the future.
    Or maybe we need to get plugged into the virtual matrix???
    You are all looking short term the enemy is looking generationally.
    WAKE UP!!!

  9. crair

    I read these emails and I am continuosly amused by people’s views. Ethanol is in there for a couple reasons, but the main one is that farmers, and the ethanol industry, have forced their senators and reps to make ethanol production mandatory – a certain percentage is law now. This is both Dems and Repubs – and then after they do that, the ethanol industry lobbies them to keep it law, and since this government is in the hands of big money, it’s a done deal. The idea that government is doing this is a joke. It is big money and big corporations which is the real power in this society and govt just does what they say. Government is powerful enough to resist them.

    I solved all my problems with ethanol by not putting it in my boat motors anymore – it’s more money, but it solved all problems. So it doesn’t bother me anymore on the water, or even in my lawn mower.

    Do you vote for people who fight big money in government or who acquiese to big money?

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