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AFPM sues EPA over agency’s mandate to use non-existent biofuels

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) filed a lawsuit today with the D.C. Circuit Court challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to require refiners to blend cellulosic ethanol or pay the agency for waiver credits due to the inability to blend these non-existent fuels under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

This challenge comes after the recent decision by EPA to deny a petition filed by AFPM,WSPA and the American Petroleum Institute in January for a waiver of the 2011cellulosic fuel requirements under the RFS. This petition was filed after EPA’s own data showed that no cellulosic fuel was commercially available and refiners would be forced to purchase credits representing a fuel that did not exist.

“Congress gave EPA authority to waive RFS requirements when there is an inadequate supply of domestic biofuel. If EPA isn’t going to exercise this authority in a year when zero gallons were produced and available, when would EPA use this waiver provision?” commented AFPM General Counsel Rich Moskowitz. “EPA’s waiver denial is contrary to Congress’ intent and forces refiners to purchase credits from EPA for cellulosic fuels that are not commercially available and amounts to a hidden fuel tax on consumers.” 

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to establish the appropriate amount of cellulosic biofuel that should be mandated each year based upon the amount of fuel it expects to be available in the marketplace. EPA’s 2011 rule required refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel to blend 6.8 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels into the fuel supply, despite the fact EPA’s own tracking system indicating that zero gallons of cellulosic fuel were commercially available in2011. 

“Someday cellulosic fuel may be available and may even be cost-effective, but today the fuel doesn’t exist. EPA’s denial of this waiver request is in poor judgment and a perfect example of the agency’s continuing war on fossil fuels,” said AFPM President Charles T. Drevna. “The requirement to blend cellulosic biofuels that do not currently exist—and will not be available in the immediate future—in any form that satisfies EPA’s phantom fuel requirements, let alone the quantities mandated by the RFS program, is one of many examples of how the RFS is broken. Congress should repeal the RFS and embrace a more realistic approach to biofuels American consumers deserve better from their government.” 

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