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TheStreet Open House

Court Strikes Down Cellulosic Biofuel Mandate - Finds EPA Exceeded Statutory Authority

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a decision that questions the motivation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit today vacated EPA's 2012 cellulosic biofuel mandate, concluding that its biased forecast was in 'excess of the agency's statutory authority.'

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120125/MM41823LOGO)

"The Court's decision provides welcome relief and puts EPA on notice that it must act as a neutral arbiter rather than a promoter of cellulosic fuel. Instead of facing the reality of zero cellulosic biofuel production under the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS), EPA wrongly relied upon an inflated production capacity predicted by cellulosic biofuel producers. This resulted in a cellulosic mandate that was impossible to meet and left refiners having to purchase waiver credits that act as a hidden tax on transportation fuels,"  said American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President Charles T. Drevna.

While the Court acknowledged that the purpose of the RFS program was to 'increase the production of clean renewable fuels,' it rejected EPA's argument that an aggressive cellulosic mandate was needed to force new technology into the marketplace and held that 'refiners are in no position to ensure, or even contribute to, growth in the cellulosic biofuel industry.' In a win for consumers, the court rejected EPA's philosophy of 'Do a good job, cellulosic fuel producers. If you fail, we'll fine your customers.' 

"Today's ruling is especially welcome in light of AFPM's pending petition for a waiver of the 2012 cellulosic mandate based on an inadequate domestic supply. AFPM will continue to challenge what we believe to be arbitrary decisions by EPA and in fact, will move forward with litigation challenging the agency's denial of our 2011 cellulosic biofuels waiver request," Drevna concluded.      

AFPM, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (formerly known as NPRA, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association) is a trade association representing high-tech American manufacturers of virtually the entire U.S. supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, other fuels and home heating oil, as well as the petrochemicals used as building blocks for thousands of vital products in daily life. AFPM members make modern life possible and keep America moving and growing as they meet the needs of our nation and local communities, strengthen economic and national security, and support 2 million American jobs.

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