Iowa Sues EPA over ethanol fuel disagreements

August 9, 2023 by No Comments

On Monday, the attorneys general of Iowa and Nebraska took legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aiming to enforce the agency’s approval for the year-round sale of fuel blends with a high ethanol content.

In a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Iowa, Iowa’s Attorney General Brenna Bird and Nebraska’s Attorney General Mike Hilger claimed that the federal government failed to meet a 90-day deadline for deciding on a waiver request from their states, which sought permission to sell E15 fuel containing 15 percent ethanol throughout the year.

In 2022, seven governors from the Midwest, with Iowa’s Kim Reynolds leading, penned a letter to the administration requesting year-round fuel sales.

While the EPA has put forth a proposed rule allowing for year-round E15 sales, its implementation is slated for 2024. The lawsuit asserts that this missed deadline represents a breach of the federal agency’s obligations under the Clean Air Act.

The attorneys argued that the EPA’s inaction “prolongs the risk of harm from increased emissions levels to millions of residents in each of the Plaintiff States and impedes the States’ attempt to improve air quality consistent with the Act in areas including the Des Moines Metropolitan Area[.]”

Bird and Hilger had expressed their intention to file a lawsuit as early as March of this year, evident from their intent-to-sue letter. Around the same period, 10 senators and 21 House members representing the Midwest also urged EPA Administrator Michael Regan to grant the states’ request.

An EPA spokesperson declined to comment on ongoing legal proceedings when approached by The Hill.

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