Greens sue EPA over late environmental impacts study

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017

U.S. EPA is long overdue in conducting required studies of the environmental impacts of the renewable fuel standard, greens alleged in a lawsuit today.

The agency is nearly four years late in submitting a required review to Congress on the RFS, which requires refiners to blend certain levels of biofuels into petroleum-based fuel each year, according to the Sierra Club’s complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

A separate analysis of the fuel standard’s air quality impacts is eight years late, the group said.

“The EPA is mandated to protect our communities and the environment, and it is wholly unacceptable that the Agency has ignored the environmental impacts of the renewable fuel standard for nearly a decade,” Sierra Club staff attorney Devorah Ancel said in a statement.

Environmentalists say they are concerned that the increased ethanol production spurred by the 2007 RFS has led farmers to convert native landscapes to corn fields. They’ve also questioned the carbon benefits of using biofuels.

In response to a recent inspector general report, EPA said it would complete the environmental impact study by Dec. 31, 2017, and the air study by Sept. 30, 2024.