Ethanol Blog

Ethanol, Agriculture Interests Challenge Provision in E15 Final Rule

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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A legal challenge to the E15 rule targets a provision in the rule that ethanol and agriculture interests say could harm the future of higher ethanol blends. (DTN photo by Chris Clayton)

A number of clean air, biofuels and agriculture interests asked a federal court to review EPA's final rule to allow year-round E15 sales, in a petition filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

An alliance led by the National Farmers Union and the Urban Air Initiative is concerned about a provision in the final rule that could restrict the use of blender pumps.

"Specifically, the petitioners will argue that EPA misinterprets the 'substantially similar' provision of the Clean Air Act to artificially limit ethanol blending," the alliance said in a news release. "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."

Farmers Union Enterprises spokesperson and South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke said in a statement the group supports EPA's approval of year-round E15 sales.

"It is important to note that this is not a challenge to the fundamental ruling that allows year-round use of E15," he said.

"Rather, it is an effort to build on E15 and allow us to provide even greater economic, heath, and energy benefits through higher blends. EPA should simply allow these fuels to compete in the market without requirements or subsidy."

Urban Air Initiative President David VanderGriend said the rule includes 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. Substantial investment, at both the public and private levels, are at risk."

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said higher ethanol blends would benefit rural America.

"American-grown biofuels, and higher-level blends of ethanol in particular, are mutually beneficial for farmers, rural communities, automakers, the environment and consumers," he said in a statement. "Not only do they improve air quality, but they create new markets for farm products, create good jobs, stimulate economic activity in rural communities, and lower fuel prices at the pump. Taking this into consideration, EPA should be doing everything it can to support higher-level blends of ethanol."

Read the petition here:…

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