Tag Archives: E15

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Tuesday, U.S. Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA-03) and Adrian Smith (R-NE-3) led a bipartisan group of 35 colleagues in urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop issuing Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) for large or unqualified refiners under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program. In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Members highlighted that the expansion of biofuel waivers hurts farmers who rely on demand for corn-based ethanol and other biofuels and has increased our dependence on foreign oil.

“Our farmers and rural communities rely on a thriving biofuels’ market to support their families and create good-paying jobs. Increasing Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) waivers not only threatens our energy security, but stifles competition in an industry that is an economic driver and job creator across Iowa and the Midwest,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to meet our RFS goals and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.”

“Waiving the Renewable Fuels Standard impedes the biofuels’ market and limits consumers’ options at the pump,” Rep. Smith said. “I look forward to working with the Administration to keep our commitments to the biofuels’ industry, which in turn will help foster the development of greater American energy independence.”

The EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program requires a specific, set volume of renewable fuel to replace or reduce the quantity of petroleum based fuels. Under the RFS program, a small refinery can be granted a temporary exemption from RFS requirements if compliance would prevent them from being profitable. However, the EPA has recently loosened the requirements for SREs, enabling refineries owned by major oil companies to receive these waivers. Not only have these waivers reduced the United States’ ability to meet our RFS goals, but it decreases the demand for Midwestern corn and bio products and hurts our farmers.

In addition to Rep. Axne and Adrian Smith, David Scott (D-GA-13), Darin LaHood (R-IL-18), Roger Marshall M.D. (R-KS-1), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1), Steve King (R-IA-4), David Loebsack (D-IA-2), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA-1), Don Bacon (R-NE-2), Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Angie Craig (D-MN-2), Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO-5), Mark Pocan (D-WI-2), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-1), Ron Estes (R-KS-4), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN-7), Michael R. Turner (R-OH-10), Steve Watkins (R-KS-2), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-1), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-7), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-3), Mike Bost (R-IL-12), Ron Kind (D-WI-3), Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), James R. Baird (R-IN-4).

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works towards allowing year-round use of E15 gasoline, National Farmers Union (NFU) is concerned EPA’s proposed rule will make it harder for retailers to sell higher level blends of ethanol.

 

In a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, NFU President Roger Johnson urged EPA to rewrite a provision contained within the rule that could amount to a cap on ethanol. It is viewed within the farm community as yet another barrier to family farmers and ranchers being able to sell farm products for biofuel production.

 

“Farmers Union is eager for EPA to follow through on its promises to get an E15 waiver out of the door by June 1,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “But we are concerned that certain provisions within EPA’s rulemaking unnecessarily work against expanded use of higher level blends of ethanol.”

 

NFU’s concerns stem from EPA’s interpretation of the “substantially similar” clause of the Clean Air Act, which prohibits the sale of any fuel or fuel additive that is “not substantially similar” to fuels or fuel additives used in the certification of new vehicles. In 2017, E10 gasoline—gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol—became the nation’s certification fuel, making higher level blends of ethanol, like E15 and E30, substantially similar. Yet in its proposal, EPA has limited its “substantially similar” interpretation to only an E15 blend, making the prospects of using higher level blends of ethanol harder to achieve.

 

“Unfortunately, EPA’s substantially similar determination is limited to E15,” said Johnson. “While we do not necessarily disagree with EPA’s interpretations that would allow for E15 year-round, we believe the statute clearly allows for higher ethanol blends as part of the substantially similar determination based on E10 certification fuel.”

 

“Indeed, higher ethanol blends would further reduce emissions and provide similar or better engine and vehicle performance,” he added.

 

Johnson noted EPA should continue to consider the needed changes to facilitate and promote use of mid-level ethanol blends. “These fuels provide enormous societal benefits and represent a win-win-win for automakers, consumers, the environment, and farmers,” he said.

 

“For that reason, we respectfully request that EPA clarify that the Clean Air Act’s “substantially similar” provisions for gasoline do not cap ethanol at 15 percent.”