Kan. AG challenges EPA ethanol emissions model

Source: By Amy Bickel The Hutchinson News • Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2014

TOPEKA – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking a federal appeals court to block new Environmental Protection Agency regulations regarding vehicles that discourages the use of ethanol in gasoline.

Meanwhile, Nebraska’s Attorney General Jon Bruning also announced he is joining Kansas, along with the Energy Future Coalition and the Urban Air Initiative, in challenging the rule.

Schmidt says the EPA unfairly concludes ethanol emits higher levels of pollution. It’s not based on scientific facts, he added in a press release issued Monday afternoon.

The lawsuit, filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asks the court to reject EPA regulations that will require states to immediately begin using the agency’s new MOVES2014 model in their state plans for controlling pollutants governed by national air quality standards.

According to the EPA, MOVES2014 can be used to estimate air pollution emissions from cars, trucks, motorcycles and buses, as well as nonroad engines and equipment.

By implementing the MOVES model without opportunity for review and comment by states and other parties, the EPA forces states to measure emissions from ethanol-blended fuels in a way that incorrectly predicts higher levels of pollution, Schmidt said. Thus, it effectively blocks states from encouraging the use of ethanol as part of their clean air plans.

“Ethanol production is an important industry for Kansas and grain agriculture specifically,” Schmidt said. “EPA’s requirement that states use this faulty model was unlawfully adopted without notice and opportunity for comment. This is an example of the EPA imposing its will on the states rather than working cooperatively toward the shared goal of cleaner air. We are asking that this model be rejected and replaced with a model that more accurately reflects the true emission effects of ethanol.”

The Kansas Corn Growers Association, as well as the Kansas Association of Ethanol Processors, had asked Attorney General Schmidt to take action on the matter.

“EPA’s MOVES2014 model will hurt the ethanol industry and the farmers who provide grain for ethanol plants,” Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn Growers Association chief, said in a press release.

He added, “It artificially and erroneously skews the analysis of emissions effects of ethanol-blended fuels.”

Kansas has about 10 ethanol plants, which use both corn and sorghum crops to produce fuel.