Coalition Wants EPA to Reconsider Higher Ethanol Blends

Cindy Zimmerman

A coalition of ethanol, agriculture, and clean fuel organizations has requested judicial review of a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemaking that would limit ethanol blending and restrict the use of blender pumps. The Urban Air Initiative (UAI) and National Farmers Union (NFU) are leading the alliance.

The petitioners believe that while the rule EPA approved to allow year round sales of E15 is a successful step forward, it puts new limitations on higher ethanol blends. “Specifically, the petitioners will argue that EPA misinterprets the “substantially similar” provision of the Clean Air Act to artificially limit ethanol blending. Because ethanol is a fuel additive used in EPA’s vehicle certification process, petitioners maintain that it is not subject to any volume limitations under the sub-sim law.”

Compounding the problem, according to Urban Air Initiative (UAI) president David VanderGriend, is a provision that would effectively make ethanol blender pumps subject to crippling new regulations. The rule would treat blender-pump retailers as fuel manufacturers, subjecting them to the same regulations as refineries. Consequently, blender pumps would only be allowed to dispense E15 and E85.

In addition to UAI and NFU, the petitioners include South Dakota Farmers Union, Farmers Union Enterprises, Jackson Express, Jump Start, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Nebraska Ethanol Industry Coalition, Big River Resources, LLC, Fagen, Inc., Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC, and Little Sioux Corn Processors.

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