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Supreme Court will not take up E15 challenge

By Erin Voegele | June 24, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not take up the petroleum industry’s E15 appeal.  The appeal, filed by the American Petroleum Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association and a consortium of other organizations in February, challenged the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision to reject the its challenge of the partial waiver granted by the U.S. EPA to allow E15 use.

The E15 waiver request was originally filed with the EPA by Growth Energy in March 2009. The EPA approved a partial wavier for the use of E15 in 2001 and newer light duty vehicles in January 2011. Since then, several legal challenges have been filed against the EPA by Big Oil and Big Food. The decision of the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal “marks the end of these baseless challenges,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis.

“The highest court in the land has spoken—they have unequivocally rejected the attempts of Big Oil and other opponents of ethanol to challenge the EPA’s sensible decision to permit the sale of E15,” Buis continued. “Now that the final word has been issued, I hope that oil companies will begin to work with biofuel producers to help bring new blends into the marketplace that allow for consumer choice and savings.”

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, noted that the Supreme Court’s action ends a long, drawn out effort by the petroleum industry to derail the commercialization of E15. “The uncertainty created by this lawsuit has chilled commercial activity that would provide American consumers more affordable choices at the pump,” he said. “With this decision, E15 can finally become a meaningful option for more Americans.”

Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, pointed out that oil companies have spent more time and money trying to stop E15 in the courts then they have on complying with the renewable fuel standard (RFS).” During this time, ACE has been working with many petroleum marketers who are successfully offering their customers choices between straight gasoline and ethanol-blends, and in every case, ethanol-blended fuel is the most popular choice.  We will continue to help retailers make more money and pass savings on to consumers by offering the choice of E15,” he said.

Poet LLC CEO Jeff Lautt said the court’s decision will clear the way, allowing for more fuel options for U.S. drivers.  “We think drivers deserve reliable choices at the pump. By denying the challenge from renewable fuel opponents to limit growth of clean, American-made fuel, those choices will be available to even more consumers,” he continued.

Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization, has also welcomed the Supreme Court’s action. “Today’s decision is another step in our nation’s journey to a future of cleaner, renewable and more secure sources of fuel for our cars, trucks and planes,” Rosenthal said. “The decision affirms the hard work of innovative companies that are commercializing new feedstocks, such as algae, to be a source of sustainable ethanol and other biofuels. These are fuels that can be produced by Americans for Americans. From coal to petroleum to biofuels, America has a long tradition of adopting new and better energy sources, and today it’s great to know we are keeping the doors to innovation open.”