DC Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Arguments on 2014-2016 RVO Challenge

By Brian Dabbs, Bloomberg BNA.

The scaling back of advanced biofuel blending requirements between 2013 and 2014 may be an abuse of the EPA’s authority, a federal appeals court judge said April 24 during oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging an aspect of the agency’s renewable fuels regulation. 

A Justice Department attorney representing the Environmental Protection Agency argued the agency action would ensure the most biofuel possible actually reached consumers, but Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, dismissed that stance as agency overreach. 

“I don’t see this statute as necessarily that kind of grand authority for EPA,” Kavanaugh said. “If things are totally screwed up, then Congress should fix it.”

The oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit are part of a biofuel industry challenge to the EPA’s renewable fuel standard (RFS) volume requirements for 2014-2016 ( Ams. for Clean Energy v. EPA, et al, D.C. Cir., No. 16-1005, argued 4/24/17 ). 

The RFS program, which includes annually increasing biofuel blending mandates set by Congress in 2007, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and give the U.S. more energy independence.