EPA Pressed to Take Action on E15

Cindy Zimmerman

It was April 12, 2022 when President Biden traveled to an ethanol plant in Iowa to announce an emergency waiver to allow the sale of 15 percent ethanol (E15) in the summer months – and once again the industry finds itself in the same situation a year later.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan last week, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper noted that the same fuel supply circumstances that justified emergency waivers last summer still exist in the marketplace today.

“War in Ukraine continues to disrupt the U.S. fuel supply,” Cooper wrote. “Total U.S. gasoline stocks fell to just 229.6 million barrels last week, 5 percent below year-ago levels and the lowest for this time of year since 2015. Meanwhile, total stocks of crude oil and petroleum products are also down 5 percent from a year ago and have fallen to a 19-year low for this time of year.”

Earlier this month, EPA proposed to approve petitions from eight states that would allow the year-round sale of E15 in their states, but not until next year, leaving the country again without E15 in the summer.

Members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) are heading to Washington DC this week to meet with lawmakers and hear from EPA officials, and CEO Brian Jennings says the topic of year round E15 will be a major priority for them.

“EPA’s proposed delay makes a more permanent, nationwide E15 solution even more critical, and ACE will remain engaged with Congress and our industry partners,” Jennings said.

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) is among members of Congress who are pressuring the administration to take action on E15. “They need to stop dragging their feet on these ethanol-related issues because this is about doing the right thing for consumers and doing the right thing for agriculture at the same time,” said Hinson on the latest Agri-Pulse Newsmakers.

The governors have also called on EPA to take emergency action ensure uninterrupted access to E15 throughout the summer 2023 driving season if the agency is unable to implement their proposal in time. Signing on to a letter last week were Govs. Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Jim Pillen (R-NE), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Kristi Noem (R-SD).

They wrote, “we ask that EPA use its authority under Clean Air Act to apply the same volatility limitations to both E10 and E15 during the 2023 summer ozone control season to address extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances across our nation caused by the war in Ukraine.”

During an EPA virtual hearing on the governors’ proposal, Cooper said despite the fact that EPA delayed in responding to the petition, “there remains no economic, environmental, or legal justification for the agency to delay implementation by another year.”

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