Push to stop E15 could head to Supreme Court


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


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