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Court strikes Trump EPA rule for full-year 15% ethanol sales

Court strikes Trump EPA rule for full-year 15% ethanol sales

A federal appeals court says a 2019 Environmental Protection Agency rule change that allowed for the sale of a 15% ethanol gasoline blend in the summer months is contrary to federal lawBy DAVID PITT Associated PressJuly 2, 2021, 9:17 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleDES MOINES, Iowa — A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a Trump-era Environmental Protection Agency rule change that allowed for the sale of a 15% ethanol gasoline blend in the summer months.The decision deals a significant blow to the ethanol industry and corn farmers who grow the crop from which the fuel additive is made. They had anticipated increased ethanol demand through year-round sales of the higher blend.Most gasoline sold in the U.S. today is blended with 10% ethanol. Corn farmers and ethanol refiners have pushed for the government to allow the widespread sale of a 15% ethanol blend.The Trump administration made the change to fulfill a campaign promise to Midwest farmers. The EPA under President Donald Trump announced the change in May 2019, ending a summer ban on the E15 blend. Provisions of the Clean Air Act have prohibited the sale of certain fuels with a higher volatility from June 1 through Sept. 15 to limit smog. Congress has allowed 10% ethanol, and the EPA in its 2019 ruling revised the interpretation of the exemption to federal law to include the 15% ethanol blend.Ethanol supporters contend that using more of the corn-based renewable fuel is better for the environment and helps meet federal climate change goals.Three judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued Friday’s decision. They said it’s clear from federal law that Congress balanced “wide-ranging economic, energy-security, and geopolitical implications” and that the wording of the law “reflects a compromise, not simply a desire to maximize ethanol production at all costs.” They concluded Congress did not intend to allow ethanol blends higher than 10% to be widely sold year-round. They said the EPA overstepped its authority.The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the trade group for the petroleum industry that challenged the EPA decision, said the court simply followed government’s interpretation of the law in effect for 30 years.“There is no ambiguity in statute and the previous administration’s reinterpretation overstepped the will of Congress,” said AFPM President and CEO Chet Thompson.The Iowa Corn Growers Association said it will continue to work with the Biden administration, Congress and state officials to maintain consumer access to E15 year-round.”It does not make sense to reinstate barriers that could inhibit market access to a cleaner-burning fuel choice that combats climate change,” said Carl Jardon, a farmer from Randolph, Iowa, and president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.The decision is the second major court defeat for the ethanol industry in a week. On June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court said some petroleum refiners may exempt themselves from requirements to blend ethanol into the gasoline they produce, further cutting into the amount of ethanol blended into the national fuel supply.Ethanol supporters could ask the full D.C. Circuit Court to review the decision of the three-judge panel. They also could ask Congress to change the law to allow for year around E15 sales.The industry is hoping this year’s sales will not be curtailed because by the time the court issues its mandate and the EPA is required to comply most of the summer season will have passed.This is the third summer E15 sales have been allowed and there were indications sales were increasing. Sales jumped 24% in Iowa from 2019 to 2020, surpassing 60.5 million gallons in 2020, the Renewable Fuels Association reported. That increase was despite a 14% drop in the state’s overall petroleum consumption from 2019 levels due to fewer people driving because of he coronavirus pandemic.

Court strikes Trump EPA rule for full-year 15% ethanol sales

Court strikes Trump EPA rule for full-year 15% ethanol sales

A federal appeals court says a 2019 Environmental Protection Agency rule change that allowed for the sale of a 15% ethanol gasoline blend in the summer months is contrary to federal lawBy DAVID PITT Associated PressJuly 2, 2021, 9:15 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleDES MOINES, Iowa — A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a Trump-era Environmental Protection Agency rule change that allowed for the sale of a 15% ethanol gasoline blend in the summer months.The decision deals a significant blow to the ethanol industry and corn farmers who grow the crop from which the fuel additive is made. They had anticipated increased ethanol demand through year-round sales of the higher blend.Most gasoline sold in the U.S. today is blended with 10% ethanol. Corn farmers and ethanol refiners have pushed for the government to allow the widespread sale of a 15% ethanol blend.The Trump administration made the change to fulfill a campaign promise to Midwest farmers. The EPA under President Donald Trump announced the change in May 2019, ending a summer ban on the E15 blend. Provisions of the Clean Air Act have prohibited the sale of certain fuels with a higher volatility from June 1 through Sept. 15 to limit smog. Congress has allowed 10% ethanol, and the EPA in its 2019 ruling revised the interpretation of the exemption to federal law to include the 15% ethanol blend.Ethanol supporters contend that using more of the corn-based renewable fuel is better for the environment and helps meet federal climate change goals.Three judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued Friday’s decision. They said it’s clear from federal law that Congress balanced “wide-ranging economic, energy-security, and geopolitical implications” and that the wording of the law “reflects a compromise, not simply a desire to maximize ethanol production at all costs.” They concluded Congress did not intend to allow ethanol blends higher than 10% to be widely sold year-round. They said the EPA overstepped its authority.The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the trade group for the petroleum industry that challenged the EPA decision, said the court simply followed government’s interpretation of the law in effect for 30 years.“There is no ambiguity in statute and the previous administration’s reinterpretation overstepped the will of Congress,” said AFPM President and CEO Chet Thompson.The Iowa Corn Growers Association said it will continue to work with the Biden administration, Congress and state officials to maintain consumer access to E15 year-round.”It does not make sense to reinstate barriers that could inhibit market access to a cleaner-burning fuel choice that combats climate change,” said Carl Jardon, a farmer from Randolph, Iowa, and president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.The decision is the second major court defeat for the ethanol industry in a week. On June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court said some petroleum refiners may exempt themselves from requirements to blend ethanol into the gasoline they produce, further cutting into the amount of ethanol blended into the national fuel supply.Ethanol supporters could ask the full D.C. Circuit Court to review the decision of the three-judge panel. They also could ask Congress to change the law to allow for year around E15 sales.The industry is hoping this year’s sales will not be curtailed because by the time the court issues its mandate and the EPA is required to comply most of the summer season will have passed.This is the third summer E15 sales have been allowed and there were indications sales were increasing. Sales jumped 24% in Iowa from 2019 to 2020, surpassing 60.5 million gallons in 2020, the Renewable Fuels Association reported. That increase was despite a 14% drop in the state’s overall petroleum consumption from 2019 levels due to fewer people driving because of he coronavirus pandemic.

Iowa court: State may block abortion provider sex education

Iowa court: State may block abortion provider sex education

Iowa’s high court says the state may refuse to allow Planned Parenthood to conduct state-sponsored sex education programs funded by federal grantsBy DAVID PITT Associated PressJune 30, 2021, 7:04 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleDES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa’s high court said Wednesday that the state may refuse to allow Planned Parenthood to conduct sex education programs funded by federal grants, reversing a judge’s ruling last year that found the law unconstitutional.The Iowa Supreme Court found the 2019 law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature is constitutional, rejecting Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s complaint that the law violated its right to equal protection and that the law served no rational legitimate government interest.State court Judge Paul Scott ruled in May 2020 that Planned Parenthood would likely prevail at trial on its equal protection claim and he blocked the law’s implementation. The state appealed.The six justices appointed by Republican governors agreed that the Iowa Legislature could have reasonable concerns that allowing an abortion provider to teach sex education could undermine its goals of promoting abstinence and reducing teenage pregnancy.“The state could also be concerned that using abortion providers to deliver sex education programs to teenage students would create relationships between the abortion provider and the students the state does not wish to foster in light of its policy preference for childbirth over abortion,” the majority of justices said in an opinion written by Justice Dana Oxley, an appointee of Gov. Kim Reynolds, who signed the bill into law.The court concluded that Planned Parenthood’s practice of providing abortions would not be affected by the state’s refusal to give it grant money for sex education programs.The court’s lone Democratic appointee, Justice Brent Appel, disagreed in a dissenting opinion that said the Legislature “through unconstitutional conditions in these statutes is trying to accomplish indirectly what it cannot do directly: namely, attack abortion rights.”The law expressly prohibited for the first time an abortion provider from receiving the grant money to teach sex education in the Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program administered by the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Personal Responsibility Education Program administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health.Planned Parenthood had received the funding for years. As a condition of the grants, recipients must use state-selected educational materials that do not allow discussion of abortion. The funds for the programs are prohibited from being used to support abortion-related services. In the case, the state had agreed that Planned Parenthood has neither used grant funding for abortion-related services nor discussed abortion as part of the educational programming.Regardless, the court concluded that the Legislature could have passed the law “out of concern that its message could be diluted if PPH, the primary abortion provider in the state, delivered the state-sponsored sexual education programs.”Planned Parenthood said in a statement that it has received the funding since 2005 and has used Iowa’s state-approved curriculum to provide sex education to tens of thousands of Iowa youth. The organization currently provides sex education at more than 30 schools and 15 community-based youth-serving organizations across Iowa.”We are disappointed that the law was upheld because we understand the harm to young Iowans that will result from this decision. We were privileged to support Planned Parenthood in the vital work they do every day to empower Iowans with sex education and teen pregnancy prevention programming,” said Rita Bettis Austen, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, which provided legal support in the case.Reynolds, in a statement, called the ruling “a strong statement in support of the idea that taxpayer dollars should not fund abortion.” She said she is “proud to be a pro-life governor who will protect all innocent life.”