January 03, 2011

Petroleum Groups Ask Court to Overturn EPA Approval of E15

The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) today joined with two organizations to ask a federal appeals court to overturn a recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that authorizes the sale of gasoline with 50 percent more ethanol for late-model vehicles.

Organizations joining NPRA in the legal challenge to EPA are the International Liquid Terminals Association and the Western States Petroleum Association.

EPA’s Oct. 13 decision boosted the amount of ethanol permitted in gasoline used by cars and light trucks in the 2007 model year and later from the current 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15).

NPRA and the other organizations today filed a petition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review and overturn the EPA decision, contending EPA violated the Clean Air Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The lawsuit by the groups will argue that EPA does not have authority under the Clean Air Act to approve a partial waiver that allows the use of E15 in some engines but not in others.

In addition, the lawsuit will contend that EPA based its partial waiver decision on new data submitted to the public rulemaking docket on the day before EPA announced the partial waiver, providing no time for the stakeholder review or meaningful public comment required under the Administrative Procedure Act.

NPRA and the other organizations will file more details and written arguments regarding their lawsuit in coming weeks.

“NPRA is taking this action because our members are committed to consumer protection and providing safe, efficient, affordable and reliable fuel to the American people,” NPRA President Charles T. Drevna said. “The organizations challenging EPA’s decision believe the agency has acted unlawfully in its rush to allow a 50 percent increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline without adequate testing and without following proper procedures. As a result, we had no choice but to take this issue to court.”

NPRA and other groups have previously raised concerns about engine damage in cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, and outdoor power equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws that might be caused by E15.

The groups have said that while E15 is not recommended for anything but 2007 model vehicles and later under the EPA decision, many consumers will inevitably use E15 in other engines, a problem known as misfueling.

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