Suit claims biofuel targets overlooked impact on listings

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, February 12, 2018

A new lawsuit claims that U.S. EPA didn’t adequately consider endangered species when it set renewable fuel targets for 2018.

The suit filed today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by the Sierra Club and Gulf Restoration Network argues that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by not consulting with wildlife agencies about the effects of the targets on listed species.

The green groups allege that ethanol production spurred by the renewable fuels standard has contributed to land conversion, exacerbating the nutrient problems that lead to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico each summer.

“It is unlawful for the EPA to so blatantly disregard its own rules and mandates when it comes to protecting our communities and environment,” Sierra Club staff attorney Devorah Ancel said in a statement.

EPA in November set total renewable fuel levels at 19.29 billion gallons, including 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol, or equal to the congressional requirement for the year. In finalizing the targets for conventional and advanced biofuels, EPA largely stuck to a proposal from earlier in the year (Greenwire, Nov. 30, 2017).