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Court Denies Challenge to EPA Ethanol Ruling

17 January 2013

US - A federal court has denied a rehearing on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling that permits the sale of a high-ethanol fuel blend, writes Gemma Hyland.

Preserving the EPA's ruling is a positive step for the biofuels industry, which is currently fighting efforts against the 15 per cent ethanol concentration blend, known as E15.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s decision to deny petitions to rehear the case this week, has been met with criticism from many organisations.

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) General Counsel Rich Moskowitz said: “We are disappointed that the DC Circuit will not rehear the case and will let stand a procedural block that prevents the court from reaching the merits of this important issue.

"We remain concerned that EPA’s partial waiver will result in significant misfueling and will harm consumers. EPA has authorised the sale of an ethanol blend that virtually every automobile manufacturer has warned will damage existing vehicles."

AFPM is one of the company's who filed a petition for a Rehearing last year, reasoning that EPA overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act by granting partial waivers to allow the use of E15 in certain engines, including vehicles model year 2001 and newer.

Several studies have shown that E15 causes engine damage to passenger vehicles, boats and outdoor power equipment, including chainsaws and lawnmowers, and has led AFPM and other industry groups to raise concerns about a fuel not approved for use by the manufacturers of more than 228 million vehicles on the road today.

A recent survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA) reported that 95 percent of consumers surveyed had not heard of E15 gasoline which lends credence to the potential for misuse and engine harm as well as creating safety, liability and warranty issues.

“We are analysing the decision and will determine whether to seek review by the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh issued a strong dissent based on EPA’s acknowledgment that E15 damages cars and specifically referenced a recent AAA warning calling upon EPA to block the sale of E15,” Mr Moskowitz concluded.

Gemma Hyland, Editor

Gemma Hyland, Editor

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