Judge rules EPA to release more documents on ethanol test fuels

Source: By Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Monday, October 2, 2017

A judge rules that the Urban Air Initiative should have access to more EPA documents discussing test fuels. The D.C Federal Judge made the ruling in regards to a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) Urban Air filed for emails sent between EPA employees and oil company representatives about test fuels for the EPAct Vehicle Emissions Study.

The EPAct Study data is what EPA used to create the MOVES Model, an emissions model that shows ethanol raises toxic emissions. The data is inaccurate and for years Urban Air has been working to update the MOVES Model to give ethanol the credit it deserves for in fact lowering toxic emissions. If left as is, States needing to use the MOVES Model to meet emissions standards will not use ethanol.

In 2015, Urban Air and the Energy Future Coalition sued EPA for failing to release FOIA documents in a timely fashion. Urban Air wanted access to the information to better understand how the test fuels were created and how much influence the oil industry had in the testing process. Previous emails provided to Urban Air shows that consultants supported by the American Petroleum Institute assisted in this process.

Urban Air believes this is a significant victory. This gives reason to hope that EPA’s new court-ordered search may turn up new documents that it must produce concerning EPA’s last-minute changes to the design of the EPAct study.

Once received and reviewed, the information could help Urban Air continue to build its case with the EPA that the EPAct study is flawed, therefore the MOVES Model needs to be changed. Urban Air Technical Director Steve Vander Griend now sits on the MOVES Model review working group and will be able to take the new details, if any to the group for discussion.