From Bloomberg comes this item. Our illustrious regulatory engine, the Environmental Protection Agency, has (rather, had) a rule that required refiners to mix 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol into their gasoline output last year. In light of the fact that last year’s actual US production was 20,000 (!) gallons, all of which was exported to Brazil, the American Petroleum Institute went to court to get the mandate overturned.
Last week, the DC Circuit agreed. In the court’s ruling is this gem:
Apart from their role as captive consumers, the refiners are in no position to ensure, or even contribute to, growth in the cellulosic biofuel industry. “Do a good job, cellulosic fuel producers. If you fail, we’ll fine your customers.”
Of course, the court also was serious in its ruling. Citing Railway Labor Executives’ Ass’n v. Nat’l
Mediation Bd in the bowlegs, the court noted
(“Were courts to presume a delegation of power absent an express withholding of such power, agencies would enjoy virtually limitless hegemony….”). Yet that is precisely what EPA appears to have done in projecting cellulosic biofuel production for 2012.
The case is American Petroleum Institute v U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the ruling can be seen here.
Naturally, in response to the ruling, Progressive whining has begun. Bloomberg reports this, as well.
As a result of the ruling and uncertainty, investments in the nascent industry may fall, said Michael Frohlich, a spokesman for Growth Energy, which represents ethanol producers.
“It dampens any future investment, and creates a further level of vulnerability[.]“
Never mind that if the “nascent industry” can’t stand without government favoritism, it’s not ready for market in the first place. But the collective views of individual Americans—free market imperatives—don’t count. Only the collective views of Big Government do.