In January, I authored a Legal Pulse post after reading a New York Times on EPA’s absurd fines levied against energy companies for failing to use a special biofuel that simply doesn’t yet exist.  Here’s the facts again:

*The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act requires the use of cellulose.

*“Cellulosic fuel is commercially unavailable.” (NYTimes)

*“Companies that supply motor fuel … will pay about $6.8 million [in 2011] in penalties to the Treasury” for failing to use the mandated amount of cellulose.  (NYTimes)

This critique is especially damning considering the kid-gloves treatment EPA usually gets from The Times.

Many groups and organizations – including WLF – expressed outrage at the time of the article, but the American Petroleum Institute (API) recently translated this outrage into action On March 12, API filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the EPA requirement.  API’s Bob Greco called EPA’s requirement an “unrealistic mandate” and said “EPA must set the requirement at a realistic volume but they have not.  This is regulatory absurdity.”  API’s blog post on the subject can be seen here.

We at WLF are bothered by any instance of overregulation, but we think excessive and irrational regulation of the energy industry, at current times, is especially offensive.   Gas prices are almost $4 a gallon.  According to March 7 poll taken by, 63 percent responded “yes” to “Have recent price increases in gasoline caused any financial hardship for you or others in your household?”

And yet, the EPA considers it proper to absurdly regulate and penalize the very companies that supply our energy.  Don’t they understand that we all end up paying for their zeal?