Reuters writers Jarrett Renshaw and Stephanie Kelly reported yesterday that, "The Biden administration is expected on Wednesday to recommend for approval a rule that would allow expanded sales of gasoline…
Expansion of Summertime Ethanol Sales Struck Down in Court Ruling
Late last week, Wall Street Journal writer Timothy Puko reported that, “A federal appeals court Friday struck down a 2019 rule-change to expand summertime ethanol sales, saying the Trump administration overreached its authority when it lifted a ban on gasoline with a higher ethanol content.
The decision is a loss for corn farmers who have come to rely on ethanol sales for a large part of their revenue.
“They had aggressively lobbied President Trump to have the Environmental Protection Agency allow for a summertime expansion of the fuel in 2019, in part because it was one of the few options for growing ethanol sales.
“Friday’s ruling may leave the ethanol lobby with little to show from four years of advocacy from Mr. Trump. It fully throws out a deal that the Trump administration had framed as its compromise between refiners and farmers, two big Republican allies that have long fought over federal mandates for adding corn-based, or ‘renewable fuel,’ to gasoline. And the ruling is the second federal-court decision in roughly a week to undo an Trump EPA effort that intended to boost ethanol sales.”
Court vacated Trump era year round E15 Pres Trump made right decision 2 allow E15 yr round which gave consumers choice at the pump if they want to use E15 or not Higher blend ethanol is better for environment I won’t stop fighting for biofuels parity against Big Oil— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 2, 2021
I'm disappointed in the D.C. circuit court's decision to toss @EPA rules making it easier to sell E15 year-round. Just like with the recent SCOTUS decision, I'll work with my colleagues to find solutions that support our #biofuels & ag communities. #IA04https://t.co/5tOKfIrqV6— Rep. Randy Feenstra (@RepFeenstra) July 3, 2021
The Journal article explained that, “In that first decision, issued June 25, the Supreme Court had allowed small petroleum refineries to obtain exemptions. Iowa farmers had appealed directly to Mr. Trump to more closely limit those exemptions, making it central to his reelection campaign in a swing state.
Today’s DC Circuit Court decision blocking regulatory relief which allowed year-round E15 defies logic. My full statement: https://t.co/rQ3gUtAxEA— Rep. Adrian Smith (@RepAdrianSmith) July 2, 2021
This is incredibly frustrating and disappointing ruling which, while it doesn’t halt the sale of E15, would prevent consumers from enjoying the benefits of year round E15.— Rep. Cindy Axne (@RepCindyAxne) July 3, 2021
As I said to @EPAMichaelRegan earlier this week, we must expand the use of biofuels, not limit it. https://t.co/b6nmhQ8yvf
“Friday’s decision came from a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said the EPA had improperly reinterpreted legal language in the Clean Air Act long understood as limiting ethanol to 10% of the content of gasoline during four summer months. Once the court undid that decision, it said the rest of the rule was moot, overturning other parts of the package intended to help refiners as well.”
1. I think it is important to keep some perspective on the market impact of this ruling. It is really about the potential for future growth of E15 rather than a big hit on current demand for ethanol in the form of E15 https://t.co/frhzXkg7Am— Scott Irwin (@ScottIrwinUI) July 2, 2021
This is incredibly disappointing. I’ve already reached out to the @EPA to see how we can resolve this issue before the damage takes effect. #IA01 https://t.co/xo5oBwVKvJ— Ashley Hinson (@RepAshleyHinson) July 2, 2021
Associated Press writer David Pitt reported on Friday that, “Ethanol supporters could ask the full D.C. Circuit Court to review the decision of the three-judge panel. They also could ask Congress to change the law to allow for year around E15 sales.”
Today’s ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court is a blow to rural America.— Senator Deb Fischer (@SenatorFischer) July 2, 2021
Read my full statement here: https://t.co/qewrxzkhs3
(1/2) Today’s decision by the DC Circuit Court is yet another disappointment to Iowa’s hardworking farmers and biofuel producers. https://t.co/LN1a4mDGus— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) July 2, 2021
Incredibly disappointed by the court’s decision.— Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (@RepMMM) July 2, 2021
I will continue to work towards and push for low cost and low carbon fuel options, including E15. #biofuels #ia02 https://t.co/LicJkqynx3
Meanwhile, Reuters writers Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw reported last week that, “U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill on Friday to limit exemptions offered to refiners on blending biofuels, after sources said the Environmental Protection Agency chief voiced disapproval about a Supreme Court ruling upholding broad use of the waiver program.
Oil refineries shouldn't get a free pass on blending renewable fuels, especially at the expense of family farmers. Proud to introduce bipartisan legislation with @RepFeenstra that would provide clarity and predictability as the EPA implements the #RenewableFuelStandard.— Angie Craig (@RepAngieCraig) July 2, 2021
“Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra of Iowa and Democrat Congresswoman Angie Craig of Minnesota introduced a bill to restrict the EPA’s ability to grant waivers, after the Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision that had imposed limits.”
The Reuters article added that, “Lawmakers in farming states have pressed the U.S. administration to uphold mandates requiring refiners to blend biofuels. The EPA is expected to make a decision soon on the amount of biofuels refiners must blend during 2021 and 2022.
“Democrat lawmakers met EPA chief Michael Regan on Tuesday after reports that the administration was considering giving relief to refiners from the mandates. Craig, Iowa’s Cindy Axne, and Cheri Bustos and Lauren Underwood from Illinois were among those in the meeting.
“Sources said Regan told them he disapproved of the Supreme Court ruling and said a decision on how much biofuel refiners would be required to blend was expected in the next few weeks, although he did not give them details.”