Supreme Court denies E15 challenge

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The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition alleging that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority by allowing fuel with 15 percent ethanol, or E15, into the overall supply despite prohibiting its use in marine and other engines.

With no options left on that front, several groups, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association, will revisit a case aimed at protecting consumers from unwittingly filling tanks with E15 because the fuel has been shown to be harmful to many engines.

“The overall challenge to the EPA’s authority has been denied, simply based on a procedural issue,” Nicole Vasilaros, director of regulatory and legal affairs for the NMMA, told Soundings. “The engine products group and the others involved, the lower court decided we were not the right parties to bring the case and unfortunately the Supreme Court did not take the case into consideration. They denied our petition.”

The NMMA is part of a coalition composed of fuel, manufacturing and food groups that had brought the case to the highest court in hopes of getting the EPA’s waiver to allow E15 into the marketplace overturned.

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the plaintiffs didn’t have grounds to bring the case and therefore couldn’t consider the merits of arguments they presented. In January, the court denied a rehearing on the EPA decision. Dissenting Judge Brett Kavanaugh said then that the EPA waiver “plainly violates” statutory text.

Now the coalition will shift gears and revisit a court case alleging that the EPA has not done enough to prevent “misfueling,” or having E15 mistakenly land somewhere, such as in a boat, where it will harm the engine, according to Vasilaros.

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