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Ethanol groups praise court ruling in favor of E15

The U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit today rejected multiple challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to allow E15 ethanol to be introduced into the commercial marketplace.

In the case of the Grocery Manufacturers Association v. EPA, the court sided with EPA with a 2-1 ruling.

Trade associations including engine manufacturers were part of the case, but Chief Judge David Sentelle wrote that they “provided almost no support for their assertion that E15 ‘may’ damage the engines they have sold, subjecting them to liability,” Reuters reported.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, said “This decision is a win-win for both the American consumer and our nation.”

The Renewable Fuels Association noted that the EPA has approved E15 ethanol fuel for model year 2001 and newer light-duty vehicles and all flex fuel vehicles. This represents nearly two-thirds of all vehicles on the road and almost 75 percent of vehicle miles driven.

“Since the initial waiver filing in March 2009, vehicles were tested using E15 for a combined 6 million miles, health effects data on E15 was collected and approved, and a first of its kind misfueling mitigation plan was required and approved in order for retailer to offer E15," RFA said in a news release, adding that at least one station in Lawrence, Kan., is selling E15 under the conditions set by the partial waiver.

“Today’s decision is an important step forward in the nation’s quest to diversify our nation’s fuel supply,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

“Adding an E15 option along side E10 and higher ethanol blends allows consumers to make the fuel decisions that work best for them and their vehicle. Ethanol has a 30-year track record of safe and effective use in the market place and that record will continue,” Dinneen said. “Allowing for additional ethanol use will help lower prices at the pump, create domestic jobs, and accelerate the commercialization of new biofuel technologies.”

The Environmental Working Group said the court decision “will pave the way for runaway food inflation” and “should accelerate efforts by policymakers to re-open and reform the corn ethanol mandate.”

Corn and Soybean Digest said today, however, that the development of E15 is likely to be delayed because corn prices are so high.