WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2016 – The Environmental Protection Agency was acting within the law when it considered Argentine biodiesel imports as part of Renewable Fuel Standard requirements.

In 2015, the National Biodiesel Board filed a petition with the EPA taking issue with the agency’s decision to change rulemaking about foreign biodiesel and the RFS. Under that law, foreign producers were required to verify that feedstock used in renewable fuel production was grown on land cleared or cultivated before December of 2007. This was done to ensure sustainability requirements could be met and to make sure the biodiesel was responsibly sourced.

In a decision, a District of Columbia Court of Appeals judge ruled that EPA’s action to change that requirement was “neither arbitrary nor capricious, as it comports with agency regulations and rests upon the kind of highly technical judgments to which we owe agencies great deference.”

Under EPA’s suggested change, a third party’s survey plan could be used to demonstrate compliance rather than the tracking system previously required. NBB argued this was ineffective to ensure compliance but Judge David Tatel – writing the opinion for the three-judge panel – said the judges are “are more likely to brew renewable fuel ourselves than second-guess the EPA’s determination on this highly technical point based on a fleeting attack by the challenger.”

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In a statement, Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs, said she thought the EPA’s decision “has negative implications for the industry, which is why we challenged.” She added that NBB is “still reviewing the court’s decision and looking at our options.”


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