Biofuels groups given intervenor status by court in RFS2 lawsuit
The biofuels industry logs a victory in the fight to protect the renewable fuel standard (RFS2). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has granted motions to allow the Advanced Biofuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, the Advanced Ethanol Council, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Growth Energy, the National Biodiesel Board and the Renewable Fuels Association to intervene and address issues that will be raised during the lawsuit filed against the U.S. EPA by the American Petroleum Institute regarding the 2012 RFS2 volume requirements. The biofuels groups had petitioned the court for intervenor status on April 6.
In the petition to intervene, the groups asserted that their “members have investments in equipment, research and development, to supply the necessary renewable fuel.” In effect, the court has allowed the ABFA, ACE, AEC, BIO, Growth Energy, NBB and RFA to stand with the EPA and join the ongoing litigation. According to information released by the biofuels organizations, if API’s effort to reduce the 2012 RFS2 volume requirements is successful, companies that belong to the organizations would be deprived of the benefit of investments made in reliance on Congress’ policy choices.
The American Petroleum Institute filed the lawsuit on March 6 noting that the EPA’s 2012 RFS2 cellulosic volume mandate represented “unachievable” requirements. “EPA’s standard is divorced from reality and forces refiners to purchase credits for cellulosic fuels that do not exist,” said API Director of Downstream and Industry Operations Bob Greco in March. “EPA’s unrealistic mandate is effectively a tax on manufacturers of gasoline that could ultimately burden consumers … EPA must set the requirement at a realistic volume but they have not. This is regulatory absurdity.”
The EPA finalized the 2012 RFS2 rule on Dec. 27. The cellulosic standard for the year has been set at 8.65 million gallons. In comparison, the biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volumes were set at respective levels of 1 billion gallons, 2 billion gallons and 15.2 billion gallons.