Oil, food, and livestock groups seek high court reversal of ethanol decision

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2013 - The American Petroleum Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and several other groups filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court today, asking that it reverse a D.C. Circuit Court decision rejecting a challenge to EPA's grant of partial waivers for use of the ethanol blend, E15.

“We've filed this petition because the D.C. Circuit incorrectly concluded that none of the 17 petitioners had standing to challenge the E15 partial waivers - not the engine manufacturers whose products will run on this new fuel blend, not the petroleum industry who must undertake massive infrastructure changes to accommodate the blend and meet the renewable fuel mandate, and not the food producers who now face significantly greater competition in the commodities market for corn, the conventional feedstock for ethanol,” said Bob Greco, API's group director for downstream and industry operations, during a conference call with reporters.

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The other groups include the American Meat Institute, National Chicken Council, National Council of Chain Restaurants of the National Retail Federation, North American Meat Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation and Snack Food Association.

“Had EPA stayed within its statutory authority and followed proper procedures, it would have waited until ongoing E15 testing on engines and fuel systems was completed before allowing the use of E15. Then it would have discovered that E15 is not safe for millions of vehicles now on the road,” Greco added.

Louis Finkel, executive vice president of government affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said that ultimately, “it's consumers who will pay the heaviest toll for the court's decision.

“The available supply and price of corn and other affected commodities has an enormous impact on the cost inputs to food production,” Finkel explained. “And as hard as food and beverage companies work to deliver safe, nutritious food to consumers at affordable prices, the laws of economics dictate that consumers will feel the effects of these higher input costs at the retail level.”

In addition to the court challenge, Greco said the groups “also believe our experience here represents only one of many underlying problems with the Renewable Fuel Standard, so we are calling on Congress to repeal the program.”

Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Senator David Vitter, R-La., recently introduced legislation, S. 344, that would eliminate a consumer's right to choose E15.

 

Commenting on the decision by API and GMA to appeal the E15 case to the Supreme Court, Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said:

“Good luck with that. We now know why gas prices keep going up and up - to fund unnecessary Big Oil lawsuits to protect their monopoly on the fuel market. I wonder if food prices will spike as well to cover the cost of this Supreme Court challenge?”

Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy, also weighed in on the bill introduced by Wicker and Vitter.

“This legislation is denying consumers the voluntary choice of a less expensive, higher performing fuel. E15 is the most tested fuel to date. The Department of Energy tested 86 cars for more than six million miles without any problems or durability issues,” Buis explained. “Furthermore, NASCAR just ran over three million miles on E15 the past two seasons without any problems, noting only an increase in horsepower and performance

“After 35 days of increasing gas prices, and record costs, isn't it time we did something different?  Why are lawmakers fighting to embrace our dependence on foreign oil and the failed status quo?” Buis asked.

 

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