Kansas, Nebraska attorneys general challenge EPA ethanol emissions model

Source: By Midwest Producer • Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The attorneys general in Kansas and Nebraska have asked a federal appeals court to block new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations they say discourage the use of ethanol by requiring states to adopt conclusions about ethanol emissions not backed by scientific facts.

The lawsuit, filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by Kansas AG Derek Schmidt and Nebraska AG Jon Bruning, asks the court to reject new EPA regulations that will require states to immediately begin using the MOVES2014 model in their State Implementation Plans (SIPs) for controlling pollutants governed by national air quality standards.

The suit argues that by implementing the MOVES2014 model without the opportunity for review and comment by the states and affected parties, the EPA forces states to measure emissions from ethanol-blended fuels in a way that incorrectly predicts higher levels of pollution.

The MOVES2014 model is based on an EPA-commissioned fuel study that is designed to analyze the emissions effects of different fuel parameters, including ethanol content. The suit alleges the model artificially and unnecessarily holds other fuel parameters constant. The so-called “match-blending” methodology, the suit alleges, unfairly targets ethanol and assigns disproportionate negative emissions effects. By dictating the use of the model, EPA effectively blocks states from encouraging the use of ethanol as part of their clean air plans, the attorneys general say.

“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 case is State of Kansas, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Energy Future Coalition and the Urban Air Initiative Inc. joined the attorneys general in filing the case.