Ethanol Blog

Members of Congress Press White House to Finalize E15 Rule for Eight States

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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As a legal battle plays out in federal court a group of 22 federal lawmakers pressed the White House to finalize a rule to allow permanent year-round E15 sales in eight states. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- While eight Midwest states fight the EPA in court to finalize a year-round E15 rule, 22 members of Congress applied pressure to the White House in a letter this week to push the rule past the finish line.

Attorneys general in Iowa and Nebraska sued the agency in the U.S. District Court for the District of Southern Iowa. This week the states asked the court to rule against an EPA motion to finalize the rule by March 2024, https://www.dtnpf.com/….

The agency was required by the Clean Air Act to grant the requests filed by the eight states and finalize a rule within 90 days. States making the request in 2022 include Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

In a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Thursday, the lawmakers said the administration was holding up the final rule because of oil industry concerns about E15 supplies.

"On Nov. 24, 2023, it was reported that action on our Midwest governors' request has been stalled at the White House due to unfounded oil industry claims that implementation would cause supply disruptions and increased prices at the pump," the letter said.

"However, refiners are already required to produce fuel in this manner for specialized markets in non-attainment areas. Analyses from MathPro3 and ICF4 suggest the cost to refiners and fuel suppliers associated with lower-RVP fuel would be minimal (0-3 cents) and the existing infrastructure in the Midwest is equipped to accommodate such a switch. Moreover, EPA itself has stated that E15 is about 25 cents a gallon cheaper than E10, allowing families to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.

"As we approach the 2024 summer driving season, it is critical that the Biden administration works swiftly to finalize the governors' requests, bringing much-needed certainty to our corn growers, fuel retailers and consumers to enjoy the clean-burning, lower-cost benefits of year-round E15."

The letter was led by Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, along with Reps. Brad Finstad, R-Minnesota, and Nikki Budzinski, D-Illinois. Other signers included Sens. Pete Ricketts, R-Nebraska; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota; and Reps. Mike Flood, R-Nebraska; Eric Sorensen, D-Illinois; Adrian Smith, R-Nebraska; Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin; Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa; Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa; Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota; Tom Emmer, R-Minnesota; Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa; Michelle Fischbach, R-Minnesota; Mark Alford, R-Missouri; and Max L. Miller, R-Ohio.

Renewable Fuels Association CEO and President Geoff Cooper said he was hopeful the letter would "break the logjam" on the E15 issue.

At the same time, RFA continues to call on Congress to pass the Nationwide Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which would permanently remove the summertime barrier on E15 nationwide.

"While we strongly support the action being taken by these eight Midwestern states, the optimal solution for the marketplace is a permanent legislative fix that applies nationwide," Cooper said.

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy said in a statement:

"E15 can deliver meaningful savings to consumers at the fuel pump -- a fact that only becomes more apparent during the busy holiday travel season. We're glad this bipartisan group of lawmakers is committed to lowering fuel costs by increasing access to homegrown biofuels. This letter is yet another example of how the industry and its champions are pressing the Biden administration at every level to compel them to finally comply with the law and allow for the sale of E15 year-round in the petitioning states."

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com.

Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @DTNeeley

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