Court dismisses meat industry challenge on RFS

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed a challenge brought by meat industry groups against the renewable fuel standard (RFS).

The panel rejected a lawsuit brought by the National Chicken Council (NCC), the National Turkey Federation (NTF) and the former National Meat Association, which claimed that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its authority by exempting some ethanol producers from requirements that their fuels have lower greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum-based fuels.

“Although we are disappointed with the result reached by the Court in this case, we are heartened by the Court’s concluding point that the merits of this questionable regulation remain open to challenge,” said Tom Super, vice president of communications for the NCC.

The groups argued they had the right to sue because an increase in the amount of corn diverted to ethanol production would lead to higher prices for corn and subsequently higher feed prices. However, the panel ruled that the groups lacked the standing to bring the case.

Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote: “The petitioners fail to show a ‘substantial probability’ that qualifying ethanol plants would reduce their ethanol production” if the court vacated the EPA’s rule.

Judge Brown also wrote that the court’s ruling did not “foreclose any challenge to EPA’s interpretation” of the rule, and that a different petition would allow the court to address the merits of EPA’s reading.

The case is National Chicken Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, 10-1107, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).

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