Appeals Court Issues Mixed Decision

In a mixed decision issued Friday - the D.C. Circuit vacated the 2012 cellulosic biofuel standard while affirming the 2012 advanced biofuel standard. Leading organizations representing biofuel producers - the Advanced Biofuels Association, Advanced Ethanol Coalition, American Coalition for Ethanol, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Growth Energy and Renewable Fuels Association - had intervened in the litigation to defend the rulemaking. Following the ruling they noted that although the court vacated the cellulosic standard - it also rejected the American Petroleum Institute's argument that EPA was required to follow the U.S. Energy Information Administration's projections in setting its own. The groups say the court also rejected API's argument that EPA was not entitled to consider information from cellulosic biofuel producers in setting its projection. The biofuel organizations say these are important decisions that give EPA flexibility in setting cellulosic biofuel volumes in the future. They state the decision rejects broad-brushed attempts to effectively roll back the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Still - the groups disagree with the court's reasoning for vacating the cellulosic biofuel standard. The court believed EPA had impermissibly set the volume with the objective of promoting growth in the industry. According to the biofuel organizations - EPA set the volume based on the best information available to it at the time. Regardless - their joint statement notes that EPA is free to reinstate the volumes it had established as long as the information available would support the agency's conclusion that the volumes are reasonably achievable.

Charles Drevna - President of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers says the Court's decision provides welcome relief and puts EPA on notice that it must act as a neutral arbiter rather that a promoter of cellulosic fuel. The American Petroleum Institute also welcomed the court's decision. Group Downstream Director Bob Greco says the court has provided another confirmation that EPA's renewable fuels program is unworkable and must be scrapped.

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