Court dismisses part of oil industry suit over 2011 cellulosic levels

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A federal court has dismissed part of an oil industry group’s lawsuit against U.S. EPA over the agency’s 2011 cellulosic biofuel requirements.

In an order yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the petition by the American Petroleum Institute was filed well beyond the 60-day deadline for judicial review of an agency’s action.

The lawsuit filed in July by API, along with the Western States Petroleum Association, came more than a year after EPA issued a rule that set the 2011 cellulosic and advanced biofuel requirements under the renewable fuel standard. The rule was finalized in December 2010.

“The challenges comes too late, and should be dismissed,” EPA argued in a motion filed in September.

As part of the same lawsuit, the oil industry groups are seeking to overturn EPA’s decision in May of this year to deny their petitions challenging the requirements. EPA did not seek to dismiss that part of the lawsuit.

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers has also filed a lawsuit over EPA’s decision on the petitions. The groups argue that EPA was arbitrary and capricious in its dismissal of the petitions, and that EPA last year required refiners to blend unrealistic amounts of cellulosic biofuel into the nation’s fuel supply.

In 2011, EPA mandated that refiners blend 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, though the agency did not record any of the fuel actually being produced in the country. Intervening in the suit are several biofuel trade groups that argue EPA’s goals should be aggressive to stimulate the development of the next generation of biofuels.

The court yesterday did not grant EPA’s request that that case be put on hold until another lawsuit by oil industry groups over the agency’s 2012 cellulosic requirements is completed (Greenwire, Dec. 10).