EPA Requests Comments on Air Quality Impacts of Renewable Fuels

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on a proposed consent decree related to Sierra Club v. Pruitt, which calls for a study (Anti-backsliding Study)to determine whether renewable fuel volumes – including more ethanol in the fuel supply – will adversely impact air quality as a result of changes in vehicle and engine emissions of air pollutants.

The Sierra Club filed a lawsuit, in part, to compel the EPA administrator to undertake the study under the Clean Air Act. They are asking EPA to complete the Anti-backsliding Study on or before March 30, 2020. In addition, within three months of completing the Anti-backsliding Study, if the parties cannot reach an agreement on a deadline for the follow-up action, they will submit a joint motion (or, if the parties are unable to agree, separate motions) to govern further proceedings.

Based on previous studies, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is aware that higher volumes of ethanol in the fuel supply will lead to worse air quality, and the association will file comments to that effect.

The comment period is open until Monday, March 25. Click the following link to access the Federal Register page and submit a comment: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OGC-2018-0818-0001