Trade associations launch legal challenge over US biofuels standard

US-based biofuel and agriculture groups have asked a US court to a review the US Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016, according to a court filing on Friday, kicking off a widely-expected legal battle over the controversial program.

A spokesman for Biotechnology Innovation Organisation told media agency Reuters that groups representing biofuels manufacturers and corn and sorghum farmers intend to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to set requirements for volumes of biofuels use below a 2007 law.

The request for review sets the stage for EPA's next battle over the biofuels program. Court challenges were widely expected after EPA in late November finalised biofuels requirements that disappointed both biofuels and oil groups.

The move was likely to prolong uncertainty over the program, following years of regulatory delays.

According to Reuters, controversy over the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS), established in 2005, has mounted, with petroleum groups saying standards set in the 2007 law are not achievable, while biofuels groups have said regulators are caving to "Big Oil" and have misused their authority to lower volumes. They said the program was good for the environment and created jobs.

Petroleum groups have said the 2007 requirements are not achievable without an infrastructure overhaul.

The other petitioners are Americans for Clean Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and the Renewable Fuels Association, the filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC said.

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