Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler confirmed the agency’s commitment to getting a rule on year-round E15 out in time for the summer driving season, as long as the partial government shutdown allows it to happen.
“We’re still on schedule for that, (but) we’re not able to work on it during the government shutdown,” said Wheeler during a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on his nomination to take the job of administrator.
Several senators questioned Wheeler on the E15 rulemaking, including Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) who wanted to know if EPA has been able to take any action on the rule during the shutdown. “I’m afraid not on the E15,” said Wheeler. “It’s not a court-ordered deadline for us and it’s not considered an emergency.”
Ernst also questioned Wheeler about small refinery waivers pending and if the current low price for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) will impact whether they are approved. Listen to the exchange between Ernst and Wheeler here: Sen. Ernst questions EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler
Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota asked Wheeler specifically about the timeline for the E15 rulemaking. “We were originally planning on issuing the proposal in February,” said Wheeler. “We may be slightly delayed at this point, but we will get it done before the summer driving season.”
Sen. Rounds questions EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler
Oil state Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), critic of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), asked about the “reset” of statutory blending targets under the RFS and expressed concern that EPA was “only listening to one side of the argument” – that of the ethanol industry. EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler response on RFS reset