WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), as part of a coalition of food, farm and oil industry groups, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking that it reverse the DC Circuit Court’s August 2012 decision to dismiss its challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to allow gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (“E15”) to be sold for cars manufactured in the 2007 model year or later.
The original suit objected to the EPA’s decision on the grounds that granting a “partial waiver” of the Clean Air Act allowing E15 to be used only in cars built after model year 2006 is not within the agency’s legal authority. The petitioners argued that under the Clean Air Act the EPA administrator may only grant a waiver for a new fuel additive if it “will not cause or contribute to a failure of any emission control device or system.”
Last August, the DC Circuit dismissed the case on the grounds that none of the 17 petitioners had standing to challenge the E15 waivers.
In announcing the filing today, GMA Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Louis Finkel made the following statement:
“The procedural grounds on which the DC Circuit Court based its split decision to dismiss our petition are unfounded. All the while, the significant issues at the heart of our case continue to go unanswered.
“In the end, it’s consumers who will pay the heaviest toll for the court’s decision, as it cleared the way for an expansion of misguided food–to-fuel policies at a time when Americans can least afford it.
“The DC Circuit’s decision came as the most devastating drought the U.S. had experienced in 50 years was driving the price of corn up nearly 40 percent. The decision effectively increased demand for a crop that was already in extremely short supply, thanks to Mother Nature and an unworkable Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) policy.
“A few short months later, the Environmental Protection Agency denied the petitions of eight governors asking the agency to waive in whole or in part the RFS mandate requirements in response to the drought-induced low level of stocks.
“If the lower court and the regulating agency are unable or unwilling to provide relief under these most extreme circumstances, it’s clear that further action is needed to pursue responsible energy policies that don’t pit our nation’s energy needs against food security for families. That is why GMA is elevating this issue to the highest court in the land.
“Implementation of the RFS has had a profound negative impact on the economy and the structure of markets in energy, agricultural commodities and food manufacturing. The application of the RFS to allow E15 into the market will only exacerbate a situation that is already having a negative impact on consumers and the economy.
“Corn acreage increased from nearly 82 million acres planted in 2005 to more than 96 million acres in 2012. By comparison, the acreage planted with the next two biggest crops, soybean and wheat, stayed flat. From 2005 through 2011, the price of: corn rose by $4.05; soybean rose by $6.85; and wheat rose by $4.08. By comparison, in the previous six year period, commodities rose only modestly.
“These increased acres planted should provide some price relief by adding additional supply. However, any gains in supply are largely offset by the fact that 40 percent of production acreage planted is devoted to ethanol production.
“The available supply and price of corn and other affected commodities has an enormous impact on the cost inputs to food production. As hard as food and beverage companies work todeliver safe, nutritious food to consumers at affordable prices, the laws of economics dictate that consumers will feel the effects of these higher input costs at the retail level at a time when many families are struggling.
“The original suit filed argued that EPA had exceeded its authority and violated the law when approving the use of E15; but more importantly, it put consumers at risk of food insecurity. These facts have not changed. We continue to support this position and are now looking to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the lower court to ensure that GMA and the coalition’s arguments are heard.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.
Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders.
In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year. For more information visit www.gmaonline.org.