EPA Reaches Settlement on RFS With Center for Biological Diversity on Endangered Species Act Reviews
LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) – The EPA and the Center for Biological Diversity reached a proposed settlement on the environmental group's lawsuit alleging the agency failed to conduct an Endangered Species Act review when setting Renewable Fuel Standard volumes in June 2022.
The center filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit back in July 2022.
Since then, the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services have been conducting an ESA consultation on the latest RFS set rule, according to the settlement filed with the court. On Jan. 30, 2023, EPA submitted a biological evaluation to the USFWS.
The set rule is EPA's first RFS volumes proposal post-2022. The law requires the agency to set volumes beyond that year.
The settlement said the agencies expect to complete the ESA consultation on the RFS before the set rule becomes final. The center has agreed to a delay in the lawsuit until Aug. 14, 2023, or possibly at a later date.
Once the EPA finishes the ESA consultation, the center agreed to dismiss its lawsuit that alleges the RFS is damaging species and critical habitats.
The EPA has been conducting ESA reviews of agriculture chemicals as well.
Ethanol interest groups Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association intervened in the lawsuit.
In June 2022, EPA finalized an RFS package that made retroactive cuts to corn ethanol for 2020 and set corn ethanol at below 15 billion gallons also for 2021.
"Extensive research has shown that the RFS achieves its goal of lowering carbon emissions without causing land use or other environmental changes that impact endangered species," Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said in a statement on Monday.
"We look forward to EPA performing its own assessment under the terms of the settlement and reaching the same conclusion. We welcome the news that CBD and EPA have reached a settlement on CBD's pending lawsuit on the 2020-2022 renewable volume obligation reset rule and remain focused on ensuring that EPA finalizes the RFS set rule for the 2023-2025 RVOs in accordance with our June 14 consent decree with EPA."
Once the center filed its lawsuit in July 2022 other similar petitions were filed and the cases were combined in the appeals court.
Read more on DTN:
"Growth Energy, RFA Motion to Intervene in Endangered Species Act RFS Lawsuit," https://www.dtnpf.com/…
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley
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