Oil and corn groups team up against Biden's tailpipe emissions rules

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Washington

(Reuters) - The top U.S. oil and corn industry lobby groups said on Tuesday they were suing President Joe Biden's administration over its plans to slash planet-warming tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks, arguing the regulations will cause economic harm.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this spring finalized new rules for models of semi-trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles released from 2027 to 2032 in a bid to cut 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions through 2055.

It also announced regulations to reduce emissions from cars and other light and medium duty vehicles in a separate set of standards the administration projects will mean up to 56% of all car sales will be electric between 2030 and 2032.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), which is the top U.S. oil and gas lobby group and includes Exxon Mobil as a member, said on Tuesday it was suing the EPA over its truck regulations, just days after having filed a separate federal lawsuit over the agency's light and medium duty vehicle rules.

“The EPA is forcing a switch to technology that simply does not presently exist for these kinds of vehicles – and even if it were someday possible, it will almost certainly have consequences for your average American,” said Ryan Meyers, API's senior vice president and general counsel about Tuesday's lawsuit.

The National Corn Growers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said they had joined Tuesday’s suit, arguing the administration was abandoning biofuels.

“EPA has tried to impose a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing climate change by prioritizing electric vehicles over other climate remedies like corn ethanol,” said National Corn Growers Association President Harold Wolle.

The EPA said it would not comment on pending litigation.

Transportation is responsible for more than a quarter of national greenhouse gas emissions, and the regulations form a major part of Biden’s broader plan to decarbonize the United States by mid-century.

The oil and ethanol industries often clash over U.S. biofuels mandates, but tend to join forces against electric vehicles to preserve continued use of internal combustion engines.

The U.S. auto industry has largely endorsed the new tailpipe standards.

The Renewable Fuels Association, a major ethanol lobby group, and National Farmers Union also joined the legal challenges to the tailpipe regulations by filing a lawsuit on Monday challenging EPA's light and medium duty vehicle rules.

"EPA grossly exceeded its statutory authority by finalizing regulations that effectively mandate the production of EVs, while blatantly excluding the ability of flex fuel vehicles and low-carbon, high-octane renewable fuels like ethanol to achieve significant vehicle emissions reductions," said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)