Push to stop E15 could head to Supreme Court

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A coalition of groups opposed to the sale of E15 will likely take their case to the Supreme Court.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is just one of the groups that say the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority by granting a waiver allowing the sale of fuel with 15 percent ethanol.

“Based on the conversation so far, we are likely to be seeking a Supreme Court review,” NMMA chief counsel of public affairs and director of regulatory affairs Cindy Squires told Soundings Trade Only.

Each of the three groups that were involved in a recent court case that was thrown out by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals are considering “very seriously” whether to bring the case to the highest court, Squires said.

“We anticipate that at least one of those groups will most likely file,” Squires said. “If that were to occur we assume the other groups will follow suit. No final decisions have been made, but we’re all very seriously considering it.”

The groups have until April 15 to decide whether to seek a Supreme Court review, or 90 days after the D.C. Court of Appeals denied a rehearing on the EPA move that put E15 on the market.

The NMMA 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 in January.

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, Squires told Trade Only at the time.

The groups are considering the Supreme Court review as several take their case to Capitol Hill for amending the Renewable Fuel Standard or repealing it altogether. The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has also been active on that front.

“When it comes to ethanol, the NMMA has done a number of government relations battles,” Squires said. “We always like to look at these types of battles as multi-pronged efforts. We’re very active about ethanol. We’re active in the courts, we’re looking at new legislative options and we’re also looking at state options, as well. There are many avenues, so we try not to leave any stone unturned.”

“We want to make sure we protect boaters from inadvertently putting E15 in the tank and destroying their engine,” Squires said.

Read more about E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard in the March issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— Reagan Haynes


5 comments on “Push to stop E15 could head to Supreme Court

  1. Rusty

    I think it needs to be pointed out, regarding not only E-15 but ethanol of any type, that use of this fuel goes beyond damaging the engine. I think it has been shown that these fuels when used in vessels that are not hardened against ethanol, and I’m talking the entire fuel system, the action of the ethanol can cause break down of the fuel tank and fuel lines thereby opening the door for fuel in the bilge which can certainly lead to fire and explosion. Whether these judges lack the knowledge or simply don’t bother to do their homework regarding their decisions their disregard for human life over capitalism leads one to believe that they are not suited to their job as a judge.

  2. @mnboats

    With the March issue of Sondings Trade Only perhaps touch on the why’s and how’s of the boaters destroying their engines putting E15 in the tank.

  3. Tom Marlowe

    I fully support environmental protection and renewable energy, but ethanol is currently not the answer to either goal. Blindly pushing for ever increasing volumes and higher percentages in the face of overwhelming evidence that we are harming both the environment and the engines it may be used in is typical irresponsible government intervention. And today we have the added challenge of overcoming a devastating drought which has severely inhibited what limited capacity we had to produce ethanol to begin with pushing food prices through the roof.


    Ethonal as a fuel is a large scam that the Federal Government is forcing US consumers and citizens to use in many motorized vehicles that will eventually destroy most components in the fuel systems of engines. It is particularly devasting to marine applications as some fuel tanks in the bildges of boats and yachts may be vulernable to deteration by ethonal as stated above. Leakage of fuel into the bildge of a water craft would create a time bomb. As we have seen this past summer, corn prices have escalated due to the drought in the Midwest resulting in food as well as fuel price increases, so a person can conclude that fuel and our foods will be price competitive against each other in the future. Another negative factor of ethonal is the BTU rating of the fuel in much lower than gasoline and diesel fuel, therefore requiring a much larger volumetric quantity to produce a similar horsepower rating in an engine. And finally, ethanol would not be a cost effective fuel if it weren’t for Big Government subsidies supporting the farm aid in growing of the corn and production of the fuel – read that our precious tax dollars.

  5. Bud

    ANY engine not built to run ethanol is going to have problems, most all small 2 & 4 stroke homeowner equipment as well as marine applications. No ones talking about phase separation once any water gets into the fuel. Things go down hill fast, once this happends. storing fuel with ethanol is a problem too.Everything about this “green energy ethanol fuel” plan is wrong for this type application. It was not thought out at all. Many people may give up boating if the fuel kills the engines. Boating is option not a requirement for many. It’s all about greed and power and less to do with making the planet cleaner. Tax money is easy to spend when you don’t have to earn it the hard way. When will it ever change? It’s not like we don’t know better…Power & Greed….well “just plain STUPID in some cases. Stupid is as stupid does….Right?

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