EPA Strikes Deal With Oil Industry Groups Over Renewable Fuel Standard

By Angela Neville, Texas Lawyer. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tried to avoid adding fuel to the fire in connection with a lawsuit filed against it in March by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute. The two oil industry trade associations alleged that the federal agency failed to meet the congressionally mandated Renewable Fuel Standard deadlines.

The complaint alleged that the EPA had violated a nondiscretionary duty under the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7545(o)(3)(B), to establish renewable fuel obligations applicable to the calendar years 2014 and 2015 and to approve or disapprove plaintiffs' petition to waive in part for calendar year 2014 the renewable fuel volumes established by 42 U.S.C. §7545(o)(2).

The EPA recently reached a settlement with the two plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The proposed consent decree, filed on April 10 with U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, establishes the following schedule for issuing RFSs for 2014 and 2015: by June 1, the agency will propose volume requirements for 2015; and by Nov. 30, the EPA will finalize volume requirements for 2014 and 2015 and resolve a pending waiver petition for 2014, according to Jennifer Colaizzi, press officer at the EPA's Office of Public Affairs.