By Joe Gardyasz

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a case that claimed that federal regulators allowed a midlevel ethanol fuel blend onto the market without proper testing, The Hill reported.


The court's decision assures a place at the pump for E15, a mix composed of 15 percent ethanol - compared with the standard 10 percent - and 85 percent petroleum by leaving intact a 2009 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling that E15 is safe to use in cars made in 2001 or later.  


Three trade groups - the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers - had petitioned the Supreme Court to consider whether the EPA did enough testing before permitting sales of E15. A lower court said in August 2012 that those groups lacked standing to challenge the EPA decision.


The biofuel industry praised the decision, characterizing it as the nail in the coffin for attacks against E15 by the oil industry and food groups.


"I am pleased that today's Supreme Court action ends a long and drawn out petroleum industry effort to derail the commercialization of E15. The uncertainty created by this lawsuit has chilled commercial activity that would provide American consumers more affordable choices at the pump," Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said in a statement.


In Iowa, legislators last month approved a bill to protect retailers' ability to sell E15 and other blends. House File 640, signed last week by Gov. Terry Branstad, guarantees local retailers the right to offer ethanol and biodiesel blends of their choice. The Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa said protecting retailers' longstanding practice of locally blending biofuel products will benefit the state's economy.