Biofuels Stakeholders Comment on Oral Arguments

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) presented oral arguments to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Monday on the petition for review of the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2014-2016 filed by Americans for Clean Energy, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January 2016. The NBB challenged EPA’s interpretation and use of its waiver authority under the RFS statute and defended higher advanced-biofuel volumes.

“There is room for more aggressive growth; the U.S. biodiesel industry can do more. We hope that the court will be persuaded by our arguments and that EPA will put in place more aggressive advanced-biofuel requirements moving forward,” said NBB vice president of federal affairs Anne Steckel. “We look forward to working with the Trump administration to realize the potential to support additional jobs and investment in rural economies.”

Stakeholders in the case, including the American Coalition for Ethanol, BIO, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and the Renewable Fuels Association commented that the proceedings showed “renewable fuel targets for 2014 through 2016 were legally and factually indefensible, as well as wholly inconsistent with Congressional intent” for the RFS.

The statutory basis for granting a waiver based on an ‘inadequate domestic supply’ of ‘renewable fuels’ does not allow EPA to take into account “factors that affect the consumption of renewable fuels,” as the Agency has suggested. Moreover, since the RFS program allows obligated parties to use carryover renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance with the annual volume obligations, it would be hypocritical for the Agency to exclude such carryover RIN credits when determining whether the amount of available renewable fuel is adequate to achieve compliance.

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