Court Hears Renewable Fuels Mandate Challenges

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The Washington, D.C. Circuit court heard challenges last month to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) over the volumes from 2014 to 2016. Renewable fuels and oil industry interest groups have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The renewable fuels groups argue the EPA illegally lowered the amount of ethanol required by the RFS during that time.

The EPA claimed they lowered the ethanol numbers because ethanol demand did not equal what was set by the RFS. Renewable fuels groups say there was plenty of supply, which is what the RFS mandated.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says they don't want to change the past numbers, retroactively.

Executive Director Monte Shaw says, "You can't redo the past, but what we can do is set the precedent for the future that, in the future, the would never again be able to use this bogus 'supply equals demand', you know supply means supply, right?"

On the other side, the oil industry groups say it was illegal to raise biodiesel numbers because of the congressional mandate.

The EPA claims they raised those numbers to the demand of 2014 through 2016.

Both groups also oppose each others position.

Shaw says at the hearing, there were a lot of questions for both sides, "The justices were doing their job. They were looking for holes in all the arguments. But at the end of the day we felt that it went pretty well, and our arguments make sense and so we're optimistic."