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US Ag, Biofuels Interests to Intervene in EU Lawsuit Challenging SAF Regulation

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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U.S. agriculture and biofuels interests have applied to intervene in a lawsuit in Europe challenging a regulation that effectively bans crop-based biofuels from being used as feedstocks to produce sustainable aviation fuel. (DTN file photo by Todd Neeley)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Agriculture and biofuels groups along with a U.S. sustainable aviation fuel company are trying to intervene in a lawsuit challenging a law in the European Union that effectively bans the use of crop-based biofuels as feedstocks for SAF.

On Thursday, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council and Georgia-based LanzaJet, filed an application to intervene in the lawsuit filed by ePURE and Pannonia Bio, a major ethanol producer in Europe, against the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation. The group ePURE is a trade association that represents European ethanol producers.

According to a news release from the U.S. groups, their application seeks to "annul the relevant provisions" of the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation. That regulation was adopted by the EU in 2023 and is set to take effect in 2025.

A similar challenge was brought against the FuelEU Maritime Regulation and the Renewable Fuels Association is seeking to intervene in that case, as well.

The U.S. groups argue in their application that the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation will have a "detrimental effect" on the U.S. ethanol industry.

"The contested provisions give rise to a de facto ban on the supply of crop-based biofuels to the aviation sector in the EU," the U.S. organizations argue in their application.

"Due to the substantial difference in cost between biofuels and fossil fuels in the EU -- which the regulation expressly acknowledged -- aviation fuel suppliers will not purchase biofuels instead of fossil fuels unless they are obliged or incentivized to do so. Since using crop-based biofuels will not help aviation fuel suppliers meet their obligations under the Regulation, they will not purchase those biofuels."

The Biden administration earlier this week released details spelling out how ethanol and biodiesel producers can qualify for the $1.25-per-gallon SAF 40B tax credit.

The credit will revolve around an updated energy life-cycle analysis in the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Technologies model,….

In January 2024, LanzaJet launched what was believed to be the world's first ethanol-to-jet fuel production plant in Soperton, Georgia,….

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