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Renewable Fuels Groups Press Biden OMB to Finalize E15 Rule for Eight States

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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Eight Midwest renewable fuels and agriculture groups have asked the Biden administration to finalize an E15 rule. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- In December the EPA sent to the Office of Management and Budget a rule to allow permanent year-round E15 sales in eight Midwest states and now Midwest renewable fuels groups are wondering why the Biden administration continues to delay the rule.

The rule posted to OMB's website before Christmas, which started a clock that usually takes two to four weeks to finalize and publish. That was 37 days ago.

In December, the states of Iowa and Nebraska asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Southern Iowa, to require the EPA to "promptly" finalize the rule and to reject the agency's plan to do so by March 28, 2024.

In a letter to the OMB on Wednesday, eight state-level biofuels and agriculture groups from the Midwest states filing the requests asked for action.

"During recent court filings on this topic, the Department of Justice stipulated that the governors had the power to make the requests, that the governors made the requests properly, that the governors submitted proper documentation with their requests, and that the EPA should have acted within 90 says," the letter said.

"There are no questions regarding the law or science in their matter. It is critical that the Biden administration move swiftly to finalize the governors' requests to provide certainty for this summer and to ensure motorists don't lose the lowest-cost fuel option for most vehicles."

The letter is signed by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Illinois Renewable Fuels Association, Minnesota Bio-fuels Association, Missouri Renewable Fuels Association, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Nebraska, South Dakota Ethanol Producers Association, and Wisconsin BioFuels Association.

On April 28, 2022, governors in eight states requested a change allowed by the Clean Air Act to reject the use of the 1-psi waiver for E10, a 10% ethanol-blended gasoline. The action would clear the way for permanent, year-round E15 sales in the states. E15 is a blend of up to 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline.

The rule would result in applying 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.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to issue a rule setting aside the waiver if governors request it, and the law requires a rule to be finalized within 90 days.

Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said in a news release that the OMB has ample time to finish its review.

"The deadline to finalize the E15 fix was a year and a half ago," Shaw said.

"There is simply no excuse to further hold up finalization. Quick adoption of the rule will ensure that motorists do not face fewer options and higher prices at the pump this summer."

Read more on DTN:

"EPA Sends E15 Rule to White House OMB,"…

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