E15 opponents have a ally in Kavanaugh

Source: By KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Friday, October 12, 2018

Trump’s promise to boost ethanol sales will have to survive an inevitable court challenge once EPA formally issues an E15 waiver sometime next spring, and the oil industry does not think the agency has the legal authority it needs to follow through, Pro’s Eric Wolff reported Wednesday. On that front, they appear to be in agreement with newly sworn-in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who offered his views in a 2012 case over a partial waiver. The case was dismissed on procedural grounds, but Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that EPA was misinterpreting the Clean Air Act. “On the merits, I conclude that the E15 waiver violates the statute,” he wrote in Grocery Manufacturers Association v. EPA“The waiver might be good policy; if so, Congress has the power to enact a new law permitting E15. But under the statute as currently written, EPA lacks authority for the waiver.”

Back to the Hill? While legislative action has largely fizzled this year around reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard, oil refiners’ allies on Capitol Hill say they are not giving up the fight. “We’re still talking,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters Wednesday. “We think we need a permanent solution and I also think there’s a high likelihood there will be litigation, so we think a legislative solution would be more appropriate.” A spokesman for Rep. John Shimkus, who has been leading the House effort on reform, said Shimkus hopes to get a draft bill out later this year.