A diverse coalition of farm and food trade associations today filed a suit in federal court to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to allow gasoline containing 15% ethanol to be sold for cars manufactured in the 2007 model year or later. The main contention in the suit is that EPA granted a partial waiver, of which is does not have authority to do, the groups stated.
Farm and food petitioners in the suit, which was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, include the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Meat Association, the National Turkey Federation, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council, the Snack Food Association and the American Frozen Food Institute.
The Coalition objects to the EPA's decision on the grounds that granting a "partial waiver" of the Clean Air Act allowing E15 to be used only in cars built after model year 2006 is not within the agency's legal authority. The petitioners argue that under the Clean Air Act the EPA administrator may only grant a waiver for a new fuel additive if it "will not cause or contribute to a failure of any emission control device or system."
The Coalition said: "In approving E15, which is compatible only with certain, later-model automobile and other types of engines, the EPA has clearly exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act. The EPA has unlawfully interpreted the statute to achieve a particular outcome. The agency has a legal obligation to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Clean Air Act and, in this case, has failed to do so. We are confident that the Court will agree and require the EPA to reverse course."
Growth Energy, the ethanol trade group who asked the EPA for the waiver request, said it is closely monitoring the lawsuit and any other action that takes place from here on out. Growth Energy chief executive officer Tom Buis again targeted food companies for shifting the blame of higher food prices to ethanol producers.
"Having been unable to dispute the overwhelming science in favor of E15, [food companies] are now turning to the legal process to slow progress on renewable fuels," Buis said. "We will fully evaluate their lawsuit but the expansion of renewable fuels in America should be based on science. As extensive testing has shown, E15 is a good fuel for American motorists."