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Posted on  

September 19, 2001

NCGA Teams with Renewable Fuels Association in California Lawsuit

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has joined the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a lawsuit filed by the state of California against the EPA.

California is filing a Petition of Review with the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals as a result of the EPA's denial of that state's request for waiver of the oxygen content requirement of the Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) program.

Both RFA and NCGA are joining in what is called intervener status. NCGA CEO and Executive Vice President Rick Tolman explained that intervening is the only way to participate in the court's proceedings. ``Intervention provides two benefits,'' said Tolman. ``First, interveners file a separate brief. We can use this brief to make up any shortcomings in the EPA's analysis or to expand on important points.

``Second,'' continued Tolman, ``by intervening, NCGA will become a player, so to speak, in the litigation. We will have a greater opportunity to discuss strategy with the EPA and maybe strengthen the case.''

California filed the suit Aug. 13 asking the court to find the EPA acted ``arbitrarily and capriciously'' in denying the petition. The request was based on a claim that additional reductions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) were necessary in the Los Angeles Basin and in the Sacramento area in order to attain the national primary ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter.

The EPA performed extensive analysis of the available data. That analysis concluded there is significant uncertainty over the changes in emissions that would result from a waiver. In announcing the denial of the waiver, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman stated, ``We cannot grant a waiver for California since there is no clear evidence that a waiver will help California to reduce harmful levels of air pollution.''

Tolman concluded, ``We're confident the courts will uphold the EPA's original decision. We are glad to be able to ally ourselves with the RFA to ensure a positive future for the environment, the nation's corn growers and the ethanol industry.''



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