Did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overstep its bounds in its to grant a partial waiver approving the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol for 2007 model year and newer passenger cars and light trucks?
A collective of automakers and engine manufacturers today filled a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, requesting judicial oversight and review over whether EPA's "partial waiver" approval for E-15 fuels violates the federal Clean Air Act provisions. The petition states the Clean Air Act limits the circumstances under which EPA can approve applications for new fuels and fuel additives.
The petitioners include the newly-formed Engine Products Group, comprising the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the National Marine Manufacturers Assoc., and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.
Critics of E-15 say the 50 percent increase in ethanol could damage catalytic converters in older vehicles, as well as engines of boats, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, chainsaws, lawnmowers, and other gas-powered lawn equipment.
"Our organizations collectively represent some 400 million engine products used by tens of millions of people every day in the US. The safe and reliable use of those products is paramount to us and our customers, and the legal action we take today is to protect those customers," said spokesman for the Engine Products Group, Kris Kiser.
According to the complaint, the EPA went outside of its authority when it granted the "partial waiver," and that the EPA's own statute, passed by Congress in 2007, states that fuels can't be approved for sale if could cause engine failures. Also, the testing EPA used to make its decision was done too late for comments or scrutiny from concerned groups and stakeholders.
"While all members of the EPG have and continue to support the development and use of safe and sustainable alternative fuels, the action EPA has taken to permit E-15 to be sold as a legal fuel, even if limited only to certain products, will have adverse consequences for the environment and consumers. A partial waiver, by its nature, necessarily will result in the misfueling of products not designed or tested for E-15 use," Kiser said.