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Appeals court denies challenge to E15 rule

The latest court case over labeling E15 was thrown out Tuesday because the industries bringing the complaint, including the recreational boating industry, can’t show people have been harmed as a result of the misfueling regulation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed the recreational boating industry’s challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule regarding misfueling mitigation plans surrounding the sale of E15, saying groups bringing the complaint “cannot show members have suffered or are suffering with an injury that is traceable to the misfueling regulation,”the court found in a decision that surprised the boating industry.

“We were expecting a positive result from this case because we feel it was factually different from our previous E15 waiver case,” NMMA director of federal and legal affairs Nicole Vasilaros told Trade Only Today.

“Amongst the breadth of industries involved in the case, we did expect to have standing,”Vasilaros said. “However, the court seems to have set a bar for standing which is extremely high.”

The case specifically challenged the EPA’s plans to prevent misfueling, including the use of what the National Marine Manufacturers Association believes is a highly inadequate pump warning label.

Vasilaros said that if groups bringing the case, including the American Petroleum Institute and the Engine Products Group (which includes the NMMA), don’t qualify for standing in this case, it will make it harder for any industry to challenge an agency action.

“Agencies already have a high degree of deference in their rule-making, but by imposing such a high standing burden on industry to overcome, it makes it difficult to get a case heard in the D.C. circuit court in matters of similar instance,” Vasilaros said. “The court did tie this case to our previous case, which we feel is unfounded. But by doing so, the standing argument also stuck.”

At this time the NMMA is not actively involved in additional court cases regarding E15.

“However we are reviewing additional legal options with the ultimate goal of forcing the EPA to better label pumps and warn consumers about misfueling,” Vasilaros said.

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