Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed legislation on Monday that would have required labels on E15 pumps, after a number of biofuels producers raised objections to the measure.
In a letter to the president of the Indiana State Senate on Monday, Holcomb explained the reason for the veto.
"I am vetoing SEA 303 due to its requirement of a duplicative label at every pump that dispenses E15 blends of fuel in the state," he said.
"The Environmental Protection Agency already mandates that all E15 pumps have a label clearly advising consumers of the possible implications of using the fuel in certain engines. I find this additional layer of government unnecessary and confusing."
Holcomb asked legislators to create new legislation to codify that E15 can be sold year-round in Indiana, "as it would support our ethanol industry and would further grow the market for our Hoosier farmers."
Currently, the federal EPA is proposing to either modify the E15 label or remove the label requirement.
The Indiana E15 label would have included the language: "Attention: E15. Check owner's manual for compatibility and warranty requirements" or a similar statement approved by EPA if the bill became law.
In a letter to Holcomb on April 1, nine ethanol plant officials in the state asked for a veto.
"Over the last year, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated our agricultural sector, wiping out demand for the biofuels that create a vital market for our farm suppliers," the officials said.
"Despite these headwinds, the men and women of our industry remain hard at work, and expanded markets for higher ethanol blends like E15 have been a bright spot for the rural recovery. Unfortunately, SB 303 would stall that recovery and threaten the income of Hoosier farmers, jobs for rural workers, and savings at the pump for Indiana motorists. Specifically, the bill would slap a new, cigarette-style warning label on E15 dispensers, sowing consumer confusion with language that conflicts with federal labels already required on each pump."
The letter was signed by officials from The Andersons, Cardinal Ethanol, CIE, Green Plains Inc., Iroquois Bio-Energy Company and Poet LLC.
The ethanol industry in Indiana supports about 15,500 jobs and adds about $3 billion to the state's economy. The industry officials said in the letter the expansion of E15 in Indiana has the potential to add demand for about 48 million bushels of corn annually.
Jeff Cummins, associate director of policy engagement at the Indiana Farm Bureau, told DTN adding such a warning label to the legislation was part of an overall compromise to garner wide support.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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