Biofuel Producers Challenge Federal Court Decision Blocking Summertime E15 Sales

The Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association filed a legal petition in the D.C. Court of Appeals requesting a full nine judge panel review of the Court’s recent decision that blocks the sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol during summer months.

That decision was handed down by a panel of three of the nine judges who make up the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Acting on a suit filed by oil producers, the three-judge panel invalidated a 2019 EPA rule that allowed the year-round sale of E15. The rule made it easier to sell E15 during the summer driving season in conventional fuel markets which make up roughly two thirds of all gasoline sold nationwide.

The decision was based on interpretation of the statutory language in the Clean Air Act that provides a one-pound Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for E10 blends between June 1 and September 15th of each year.

The Court ruled that the EPA lacked the authority to expand the RVP waiver to E15 because the plain language of the Clean Air Act limits the one -pound allowance solely to blends between E-9 and E10.

Associations representing biofuel producers and corn growers said it was filing the petition for a full rehearing because the three-judge panel made legal errors in reaching its decision.

A rehearing before all nine judges of the D.C. Court of Appeals may be ordered by a majority of the judges when consideration by the full court is necessary to maintain uniformity of its decisions, or when the case involves a question of exceptional importance, neither of which the petitioners’ case is likely to show.

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