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Reckless and lawless EPA: Running on empty

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Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Only the arrogant Environmental Protection Agency could order refiners to use a biofuel that, in reality, doesn't exist, get slapped by a federal appeals court for doing so, then raise the biofuel mandate in 2013.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA “exceeded its authority” — now there's a shock — by forcing refiners to purchase cellulosic biofuel, which is made from nonfood sources such as switch grass. The trouble is, this type of ethanol doesn't exist, at least not the 8.7 million gallons that the EPA demanded refiners to use. (Reportedly, the U.S. managed to produce only 20,000 gallons in 2012.)

But that didn't stop the EPA. It has ordered petroleum companies to add 14 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol to gasoline, despite the court's admonition that any mandate — with hefty fines for noncompliance — must be based on realistic production projections, writes Jillian Kay Melchior for National Review Online.

The EPA says the target is a “reasonable representation of expected production.” Bob Greco, a director of the American Petroleum Institute, insists the “EPA needs a serious reality check.”

This isn't another case of the EPA simply throwing its weight around. It's reckless. It's further proof that diktats from the Obama administration are far removed from reality. The court should issue a contempt citation posthaste. And Congress should snap shut the public purse that underwrites such lawlessness.

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