Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appeared before the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday to update members on the current state of the farm economy and what USDA is doing about it.
Among the many topics Secretary Perdue addressed was whether EPA would get a rule allowing the year-round use of E15 ethanol-blended fuel in time for the summer driving season.
“Unfortunately, those rules probably will not be out for the driving season,” Perdue said in answer to a question from Rep. Don Baker (R-NE), adding that they are expecting EPA to commit to “discretionary enforcement” come summertime for those who want to continue to sell E15.
Answering a later question from new Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Perdue added, “Had the shutdown not occurred I think we’d been able to see the E15 rules before driving season, now it won’t happen.”
Shortly after Perdue made those comments, EPA released the following statement:
“EPA is planning on releasing its RVP/RIN market reform proposal in March, and working expeditiously to propose and finalize the rule consistent with the President’s direction before the start of the summer driving season.”
Listen to Perdue’s comments here:
House Ag hearing exchange between Rep. Bacon and Sonny Perdue
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says they believe the so-called ‘RIN reforms’ sought by oil refiners are slowing down the rulemaking process. “Thus, I reiterate the request we formally made last month to split RIN reform and year-round E15 into two separate rulemakings and expedite the E15 rule,” said Cooper. “The year-round E15 provisions are straightforward, and there is no reason they could not be promulgated by this summer, particularly as President Trump made the commitment to resolve this red-tape regulatory barrier nearly five months ago.”
Ethanol and the E15 rule are already big topics of discussion at Commodity Classic this week, where Secretary Perdue is scheduled to speak on Friday.