For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Adam Russell, 202-222-0751,
Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722,

Court Upholds Harmful EPA Decision to Approve Higher Ethanol Blend for Motor Fuel

WASHINGTON - The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today dismissed challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of a partial waiver for E15 -- a 15 percent ethanol fuel blend -- allowing it to be used in light-duty vehicles manufactured beginning in 2001. 

The court ruled that all of the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring action against the EPA for granting a partial waiver that would prohibit the use of E15 in some model year vehicles but not others.

Despite opposition from a diverse set of interests including environmental, industry, free market and budget watchdog groups, the EPA had approved the partial waiver for E15 in January 2011 and finalized the other steps necessary for the ethanol industry to begin selling E15 to consumers this summer.


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Raising the percent of ethanol that can be sold in most gasoline from 10 to 15 percent would effectively expand the market for ethanol by 50 percent.

Friends of the Earth’s biofuels policy campaigner, Michal Rosenoer, had the following statement in response to the court’s decision:

“The use of more dirty corn ethanol in gasoline is a loss for the public and the environment. We already use 41 percent of the corn grown in this country for motor fuel and, with record-breaking droughts and low corn yields, it’s absurd to take more food off the plates of families and use it for gas. The fat-cat ethanol industry wants seconds when too many families can’t even afford firsts.

“The EPA’s own data shows that corn ethanol is actually worse for the climate than gasoline. Right now we’re watching fires, droughts and heat waves wreak havoc across the country -- using more corn ethanol only adds fuel to the fire. The EPA should be protecting the public from climate change, not fanning the fire by approving even more corn ethanol.

“We need sustainable alternatives to oil, not equally dirty and dangerous ethanol.”


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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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