Oil groups file brief in EPA suit

Oil and gas industry trade organizations are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of ignoring a series of legal deadlines in their lawsuit against the agency.

The American Petroleum institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers said in a court brief filed late on Monday that the agency has shown “chronic tardiness’ in issuing annual requirements under a federal biofuel program.

The EPA is required by law to issue annual levels for refiners to mix certain amounts of biofuel like ethanol in with conventional gasoline by the end of each November. But the 2013 levels for the Renewable Fuel Standard was not issued until this August, months behind schedule.

“Instead of benefitting from the lead time Congress mandated, obligated parties must scramble to alter their compliance strategies more than half way through the compliance year,” the trade groups wrote in their brief.

The groups announced that they would sue the agency over the delayed requirement in October, calling the mandate “unrealistic” and “bad policy.”

In the brief, they also accuse the agency of increasing their obligations “without notice,” by switching to a new estimate of total transportation fuel to calculate the fuel standard.

The oil industry trade groups want the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to invalidate the 2013 requirement by next June, when companies will be judged for compliance.

The EPA’s response is due on Jan. 30. Biofuel groups that support the mandate need to deliver their briefs by Feb. 6.