Lawsuits Initiated Against EPA on the Renewable Fuels Standard, Despite Rising Energy Prices

Source: By MICHELLE ROOK, AgWeb • Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Environmental and fossil fuel organizations have launched a series of lawsuits against the RFS which establish annual volume targets for various renewable fuels for 2023 through 2025.  Nine cases have been consolidated in the D.C. Circuit Court. While the reasons for the challenges haven’t been outlined they’re likely to mirror past opposition.

Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association says, “You’ve got oil refiners that have filed suit is basically the same lawsuit they filed every year for the past several years. They’re going to argue that the RFS volumes are just not achievable.  You’ve also got the Center for Biological Diversity, National Wildlife Federation, those groups, we know we’re going to be arguing that EPA did not properly assess the environmental impacts of the renewable fuel standard and the Endangered Species impacts.”

However, Cooper says past court precedent is in their favor.  “The agency has a pretty good track record of defending its decisions on renewable fuel standard. And again, a lot of the same arguments have been made in the past, a lot of them have been rejected by the courts. So, there are some precedents here, I think that we can look at for insight into how this may play out.

He says the irony of the lawsuits is they’re coming at the same time the U.S. is facing rising gas and diesel fuel prices.  Cooper says, “We don’t see any reason why we as a nation and as a collection of various stakeholders should be coming together to embrace more domestic fuel production and lower carbon, renewable fuel production and that’s exactly what the Renewable Fuel Standard does.”

Refining companies have also challenged the EPA’s denial of small-refinery exemptions from the RFS program.