DuPont files to intervene in court review of RFS

By Holly Jessen | February 11, 2016

DuPont filed court documents Feb. 5, asking leave to intervene in support of an Americans for Clean Energy petition filed in January, saying it has “significant and concrete interest” in the case.

The seven groups that originally filed the petition asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the U.S. EPA’s final rule setting 2014, 2015 and 2016 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and the 2017 RVO for biomass-based diesel. Those petitioners include Americans for Clean Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers and Renewable Fuels Association.

“DuPont shares the Petitioners’ concerns with EPA’s decision to reduce the statutory renewable fuel volumes,” the court document said, adding that while DuPont and the original petitioners have complimentary interests, those groups represent the interests of first generation ethanol producers. “DuPont brings a different and complimentary perspective to this litigation—namely, the impact of the RFS rule on the nascent cellulosic renewable fuel industry and on a company that has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in cellulosic biofuel technology.”

The company pointed to its 30 MMgy cellulosic ethanol facility, which it began commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2015. The company’s investment in cellulosic ethanol means it is “keenly interested” in making sure the RFS is implemented in a way that stays true to the intended purpose of incentivizing investment in the U.S. renewable fuel market. “The volume requirements are the central component of this statutory aim. EPA’s decision to reduce the total renewable fuel volume for 2016 (and, necessarily, in future years) will diminish incentives to invest in infrastructure necessary to make renewable fuel an increasing part of the U.S. fuel supply,” the court documents say. “Quite simply, EPA’s action puts DuPont’s investment at risk.”

DuPont filed the court documents in the midst of a plan to merge with The Dow Chemical Co., which was announced in early December. The combined company, DowDuPont is expected to separate into three independent, publically traded companies within 18 to 24 months following the merger.

DuPont isn’t the only company to petition the court in the Americans for Clean Energy vs. EPA case. About a week after the original petition was filed by Americans for Clean Energy, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers announced it had filed a motion to intervene as well.