LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- A final rule to allow permanent year-round sales of the 15% ethanol-gasoline fuel blend, known as E15, in eight states was sent Monday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the White House's Office of Management and Budget for review as a lawsuit filed against the agency continues to play out.
It is considered to be the final step in the process that EPA was required by law to complete 17 months ago.
The rule was posted to the OMB's website, starting a clock that usually takes two to four weeks to finalize and publish.
Just last week 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.
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.
A group of 22 federal lawmakers last week asked the OMB in a letter to finalize the rule as soon as possible, https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said in a statement Tuesday that his group was "relieved" to see the White House acting on the rule.
"OMB review marks the final step in this long and arduous regulatory process," he said.
"We are urging OMB to move quickly to finalize the governors' request so that the marketplace will have adequate lead time to continue preparing for implementation in 2024. Swift completion of this rule will ensure drivers in these eight Midwest states enjoy cleaner air and have uninterrupted, year-round access to lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 in 2024 and every year after that."
Although Cooper said the RFS "strongly supports" the action being taken by the eight states, the "optimal" solution would be to pass a permanent legislative fix that applies nationwide.
"As a first order of business in the new year, we urge Congress to expeditiously adopt the Nationwide Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act to provide the market certainty and stability that the entire nation is looking for," Cooper said.
Read more on DTN:
"Members of Congress Press White House to Finalize E15 Rule for Eight States," https://www.dtnpf.com/…
"Iowa, Nebraska Ask Court to Require EPA to Finalize E15 Rule Before March," https://www.dtnpf.com/…
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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