History of U.S. biofuel mandate provides opening for legal challenge

Probable legal challenges to proposed cuts in the 2014 U.S. biofuel mandate could focus on a two-word phrase dropped from the U.S. law establishing the renewable fuel program back in 2005: distribution capacity.

Biofuel producers have argued for months that the Environmental Protection Agency's justification for potential cuts to 2014 targets is incompatible with federal law and that the legislative history of the mandate will prove this.

A bill passed by U.S. House of Representatives in April 2005 that created the Renewable Fuel Standard included a clause allowing the EPA to lower the targets contained in the statute if it deems there is "inadequate domestic supply or distribution capacity." But, the final law dropped the term "distribution capacity."