LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings told President Joe Biden the EPA needs to finalize a pending E15 waiver for eight Midwest states before it's too late, in a letter sent to the president on Monday.
Attorneys general in Nebraska and Iowa filed legal action against the EPA on Aug. 7, seeking the immediate finalizing of a rule for which the agency has no choice but to complete.
By law, the EPA was required to finalize the rule within 90 days and that deadline passed more than one year ago.
The Clean Air Act allows governors to notify EPA that they wish to reject the use of the 1-psi waiver for E10 in their states. This would result in the application of the same volatility limitation to both E15 and E10 -- essentially putting E10 and E15 on the same footing in those states beginning in 2024. The eight states include Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
On March 1, 2023, the Biden administration announced it was granting petitions for eight states seeking a permanent waiver to allow year-round E15 sales.
Jennings said in the letter what "should have been a straightforward undertaking by EPA to approve a petition submitted by eight governors on April 28, 2022, allowing retailers in their states to sell E15 year-round, has unfortunately turned into a 16-month odyssey."
The letter said completing the process didn't have to come down to a lawsuit.
"It shouldn't come to this," Jenning said.
"States should not have to resort to suing EPA to do its job. While we sympathize with EPA's ongoing staffing challenges and appreciate that your chief of staff sent an Aug 4, 2023, directive to administrator (Michael) Regan and other cabinet officials calling on them to 'aggressively execute' plans for federal employees to return to the office this fall, we are 410 days into a 90-day deadline."
Jennings thanked Biden for directing EPA to invoke its emergency authority this summer and in 2022 to issue temporary fuel waivers allowing continued sales of E15 to prevent fuel supply shortages.
"We hope the circumstances necessitating the temporary waivers will resolve themselves so emergency steps are not required in the future, but we also need EPA at long last to approve the governors' petition so motorists in the eight states can benefit from uninterrupted E15 availability in time for the 2024 summer driving season," the letter said.
"Final approval of the petition will benefit the environment and American pocketbooks. By law, the governors were required to provide EPA with empirical documentation that removing the 1-psi RVP waiver and allowing E15 sales year-round would reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality in their states. They have done so.
"What's more, during the record-high gas prices reached during the summer of 2022, consumers filling up on E15 saved an average of 16 cents per gallon compared to regular gas and in some parts of the U.S. the savings approached $1 per gallon. While we continue to work on legislation to permanently provide these benefits to all Americans, the eight states deserve immediate action by EPA."
Read more on DTN:
"Nebraska, Iowa Sue EPA for Missing Deadline to Finalize Year-Round E15 Sales," https://www.dtnpf.com/…
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
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