Meat Industry Loses Challenge to Renewable Fuel Standard

The National Chicken Council and two other meat-industry groups lost a court challenge to the EPA’s national renewable-fuel standard that they said will increase feed prices in the U.S as more corn is used to produce ethanol.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Appeals Court in Washington today rejected the group’s lawsuit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of improperly exempting some ethanol producers from requirements that their fuels have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum fuels. The judges found the groups lacked the authority to bring the case.

“The petitioners fail to show a ’substantial probability’ that qualifying ethanol plants would reduce their ethanol production,” if the rule were vacated by the court, U.S. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote in the opinion.

Brown said the court’s decision didn’t foreclose a later challenge to the rules, noting in the ruling that a different lawsuit “could allow us to address the merits of EPA’s reading.”

The groups, which include the National Turkey Federation and the National Meat Association, claimed EPA didn’t have the authority to exempt certain ethanol producers from the fuel standards. They argued they had the right to sue because the exemption will lead to an increase in the amount of corn being diverted to produce ethanol, thus leading to an increase in prices for animal feed.

“Although we are disappointed with the result reached by the court in this case, we are heartened by the court’s concluding point that the merits of this questionable regulation remain open to challenge,” Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, said in an e-mail.

The case is National Chicken Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, 10-1107, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).

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