A coalition of food and livestock organizations has filed suit in federal court to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to allow gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (“E15”) to be sold for cars manufactured in the 2007 model year or later.
Farm and food petitioners in the suit, which was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, include the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Meat Association, the National Turkey Federation, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council, the Snack Food Association and the American Frozen Food Institute.
The Coalition objects to the EPA’s decision on the grounds that granting a “partial waiver” of the Clean Air Act allowing E15 to be used only in cars built after model year 2006 is not within the agency’s legal authority. The petitioners argue that under the Clean Air Act the EPA administrator may only grant a waiver for a new fuel additive if it “will not cause or contribute to a failure of any emission control device or system.”
The Coalition said: “In approving E15, which is compatible only with certain, later-model automobile and other types of engines, the EPA has clearly exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act. The EPA has unlawfully interpreted the statute to achieve a particular outcome. The agency has a legal obligation to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Clean Air Act and, in this case, has failed to do so. We are confident that the Court will agree and require the EPA to reverse course.”
EPA granted a only a partial waiver for the ethanol industry to allow up to 15 percent ethanol in gasoline for 2007 model year vehicles or newer. A decision on the use of E15 in model year 2001 to 2006 vehicles will be made after EPA receives the results of additional DOE testing, which is expected to be completed some time this month.