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API sues EPA over biofuels

March 13, 2012 at 6:50 AM

WASHINGTON, March 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is out of touch with its mandates for cellulosic biofuels, the American Petroleum Institute said.

The API announced that it filed a lawsuit in Washington Circuit Court challenging what it claims are "unachievable requirements" for use of cellulosic biofuels in 2012 fuel standards.

The EPA requires refiners to buy around 8.65 million gallons of biofuels per year in 2012. That's down substantially from the mandate of 250 million gallons imposed when the measure went into force in 2007.

"EPA's unrealistic mandate is effectively a tax on manufacturers of gasoline that could ultimately burden consumers," said Bob Greco, directory of downstream operations for the trade group. The policy for 2012, he said, was "regulatory absurdity."

The EPA opted to lower the target after the industry failed to meet the 2007 mandate. The 2011 mandate was set at 6.6 million gallons.

A U.N. report last year warned that demand from countries with growing economies, coupled with extreme weather events like the Horn of Africa drought, is complicating food security. The increased use of biofuels places additional strains on agriculture systems normally used for food.

The U.S. Energy Department in December announced that, along with the Department of Agriculture, it awarded $12.2 million for grants that target improvements in biofuels and bioenergy crops.

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