API files lawsuit against US renewable fuels mandate for 2013

08 October 2013 21:32 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The American Petroleum Institute (API) filed on Tuesday a lawsuit in the DC Circuit Court, challenging the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2013 requirements for the national fuel volume mandate.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created in 2005 to establish a volume mandate for the amount of biobased fuels blended into petroleum-based ones.

In August, the EPA finalised the 2013 standard, requiring 16.55bn gal (62.64bn litres) of renewable fuels to be blended into the US fuel supply. It also mandated blended volumes of 1.28bn gal of biomass-based diesel, 2.75bn gal of advanced biofuel, as well as 6m gal of cellulosic biofuel.

The API argued that the 2013 rule was issued nine months after the statutory deadline of November 2012 and that it required significantly more cellulosic ethanol than is available in the marketplace, when only 142,000 gal was available so far for refiners to blend.

“The 2013 mandates are an example of why EPA can’t be relied upon to implement the RFS effectively and in the interest of consumers,” said Harry Ng, API vice president and general counsel. “Ultimately, Congress must fully repeal this unworkable and costly mandate.” 

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) criticised the API’s move, claiming the petition is a “lawsuit in search of a problem”.

“This is another frivolous effort by API to abuse the court system in their slavish effort to repeal a public policy that is working for farmers, gasoline marketers and consumers,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO. “While the 2013 [renewable volume obligations] were issued later than anyone would have liked, the fact is the statute is crystal clear, and all stakeholders have been producing and blending at levels that will unquestionably meet the 2013 requirements.”

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By Tracy Dang