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Push to stop E15 could head to Supreme Court

A coalition of groups opposed to the sale of gasoline with 15percent ethanol, or E15, will likely take their case to the Supreme Court.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is just one of the groups that say the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority by granting a waiver allowing the sale of E15.

“Based on the conversation so far, we are likely to be seeking a Supreme Court review,” NMMA chief counsel of public affairs and director of regulatory affairs Cindy Squires told Soundings.

Each of the three groups that were involved in a recent court case that was thrown out by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals are considering “very seriously” whether to bring the case to the highest court, Squires said.

“We anticipate that at least one of those groups will most likely file,” Squires said. “If that were to occur we assume the other groups will follow suit. No final decisions have been made, but we’re all very seriously considering it.”

The groups have until April 15 to decide whether to seek a Supreme Court review, or 90 days after the D.C. Court of

Appeals denied a rehearing on the EPA move that put E15 on the market.

The NMMA was among the groups petitioning the court to reconsider a dismissal of the appeal in October.

Dissenting Judge Brett Kavanaugh said the EPA waiver “plainly violates” statutory text, according to court documents filed in January.

In August, a three-member panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed a challenge by several industry associations, including the NMMA, to allow E15 into the fuel supply.

“We want to make sure we protect boaters from inadvertently putting E15 in the tank and destroying their engine,” Squires said.

In a related story, a recent survey found that 35 percent of the registered sellers of E15 are not labeling the higher-ethanol gas at the pump.

Six of the 17 registered sellers of E15 had not labeled the pump accordingly, according to Squires of the NMMA.

The survey also found that several service stations selling the fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol were not registered, as required by the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Environmental Protection Agency mandate that calls for an overall reduction in the fuel supply through the use of biofuels.

“After the gas stations were surveyed, it turned out six of those sites had not even put a basic warning label on the pump,” Squires told Soundings . “That’s very concerning to us. Even with all the scrutiny on E15 these sellers didn’t bother to even label the pump.”

One of the conditions stations must adhere to in order to sell E15 is to sign up to have a survey of their operations performed.