Court upholds EPA on 2013 RFS

By Bill Eby

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014-- A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected a petition by Delta Air Line's jet fuel subsidiary challenging EPA's 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard.

EPA reduced the cellulosic biofuel volume for 2013 following an earlier appeals court decision ordering the agency to set requirements that reflect real market supply. But Monroe Energy LLC challenged EPA's decision not to also reduce the total renewable fuel volume and the advanced biofuel volume required under the 2013 RFS by the same or a lesser amount.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected Monroe's argument that EPA's decision served no “statutory purpose,” and reaffirmed Congress's directive that EPA ensure that U.S. transportation fuel contains at least the total volumes provided in the statute.

The Court also rejected Monroe Energy's petitions to revisit decisions about the RFS program that EPA made in earlier years, stating that “the time to challenge that decision has passed.”

The decision is seen as a big victory for biofuel interests, including the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO),and Growth Energy, who all intervened in the case.

“Today's decision is a victory for American consumers, renewable fuel advocates, and the RFS program,” the three groups said in a joint statement. They called the RFS “arguably the nation's most effective energy policy.”

They said the RFS spurred the development of a domestic biofuels industry, decreased the nation's reliance on imported oil and decreased prices at the pump for consumers.

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