In a decision that questions the motivation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit today vacated EPA’s 2012 cellulosic biofuel mandate, concluding that its biased forecast was in ‘excess of the agency’s statutory authority.’
“The Court’s decision provides welcome relief and puts EPA on notice that it must act as a neutral arbiter rather than a promoter of cellulosic fuel. Instead of facing the reality of zero cellulosic biofuel production under the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS), EPA wrongly relied upon an inflated production capacity predicted by cellulosic biofuel producers. This resulted in a cellulosic mandate that was impossible to meet and left refiners having to purchase waiver credits that act as a hidden tax on transportation fuels,” said American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President Charles T. Drevna.
While the Court acknowledged that the purpose of the RFS program was to 'increase the production of clean renewable fuels,' it rejected EPA’s argument that an aggressive cellulosic mandate was needed to force new technology into the marketplace and held that 'refiners are in no position to ensure, or even contribute to, growth in the cellulosic biofuel industry.' In a win for consumers, the court rejected EPA’s philosophy of 'Do a good job, cellulosic fuel producers. If you fail, we’ll fine your customers.'