NBB sues EPA over Argentina biodiesel rules

National Biodiesel Board challenges changes to review of Argentina biodiesel imports.

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NBB sues EPA over Argentina biodiesel rules

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) filed a legal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding its petition for review of Environmental Protection Agency rules on biodiesel imports from Argentina under the renewable fuel standard (RFS).

In January 2015, EPA approved an application to streamline the process for Argentina biodiesel imports to demonstrate compliance with the eligible renewable biomass and sustainability verification requirements of the RFS. The application was submitted to EPA by CARBIO, the trade association representing Argentinian biodiesel producers. The EPA approval allows a more streamlined survey approach for demonstrating feedstock sustainability instead of the more rigorous map-and-track requirements.

NBB filed its initial petition in December 2015 seeking court review of the EPA decision, citing the lack of a public comment period, the adequacy of the Argentina plan and the inability of EPA to verify that the plan meets RFS requirements.

In the brief filed on Jan. 12, NBB responded to EPA’s claims that the U.S. biodiesel industry is not a proper party to challenge EPA’s decision and that EPA can act outside of the public eye and without the court’s oversight in this case. The reply brief reminds the court that EPA never disputed that Argentina continues to expand its agricultural base or that the CARBIO proposal was the first of its kind and differed from EPA’s previous notices to the public.

NBB also previously filed an administrative petition for reconsideration with EPA regarding this decision. However, EPA has not responded to that administrative petition, choosing instead to argue in court. Final briefs in the case are due next month, after which oral arguments will be scheduled.

U.S. imports of biodiesel from Argentina increased sharply toward the end of 2015 and are expected to rise again this year.

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