Today the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), as part of a coalition of food, farm and oil industry groups, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking that it reverse the Washington, D.C.’s Circuit Court’s August 2012 decision to dismiss its challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to allow gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (“E15”) to be sold for cars manufactured in the 2007 model year or later.
The original suit objected 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 argued 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.”
Last August, the D.C. Circuit dismissed the case on the grounds that none of the 17 petitioners had standing to challenge the E15 waivers.
“The procedural grounds on which the D.C. Circuit Court based its split decision to dismiss our petition are unfounded,” said GMA EVP for Government Affairs Louis Finkel.
“The D.C. Circuit’s decision came as the most devastating drought the U.S. had experienced in 50 years was driving the price of corn up nearly 40 percent," he added. "The decision effectively increased demand for a crop that was already in extremely short supply, thanks to Mother Nature and an unworkable Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) policy."
“If the lower court and the regulating agency are unable or unwilling to provide relief under these most extreme circumstances, it’s clear that further action is needed to pursue responsible energy policies that don’t pit our nation’s energy needs against food security for families," Finkel continued. "That is why GMA is elevating this issue to the highest court in the land.”
Corn acreage increased from nearly 82 million acres planted in 2005 to more than 96 million acres in 2012; 40 percent of production acreage is devoted to ethanol production, Finkel pointed out.
“The original suit filed argued that EPA had exceeded its authority and violated the law when approving the use of E15; but more importantly, it put consumers at risk of food insecurity,” said Finkel. “These facts have not changed. We continue to support this position and are now looking to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the lower court to ensure that GMA and the coalition’s arguments are heard.”