NEW YORK—The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week struck down a Trump-era rule that allowed for year-round sales of E15, saying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its authority by lifting summertime restrictions on the sale of E15, reports Reuters.
In 2019, the EPA extended a waiver permitting 15% ethanol fuel blend to be sold all year. According to the court, the EPA exceeded its authority in that rule when it said E15 qualified for an emissions waiver for E10, fuel blends “containing” 10% ethanol. The court said that statutory language was clearly intended for 10% ethanol gasoline, reports ArgusMedia.com.
“By its plain terms, then, [the exemption] applies to E10, leaving no room for EPA to exempt E15,” the court wrote.
The decision came in a lawsuit filed by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, an oil refining trade group. Farm and biofuel groups said they intend to appeal and will work with the Biden Administration to ensure the continuity of E15 sales through the 2021 summer season and beyond. The ruling is unlikely to go into effect immediately because of a court practice to offer time for appeals.
The decision represents a victory for U.S. refiners, which argued that the E15 exemption was unlawful and could cut into gasoline sales. If the ruling is sustained, it would undermine a long-term strategy from biofuel products to grow sales by expanding the availability of higher-ethanol fuel blends. The EPA is reviewing the court ruling.