Though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering the legalities of allowing year-round E15 sales, the Renewable Fuels Association said in a news release on Wednesday a petroleum group is spreading misinformation about E15 underground storage tanks and the Renewable Fuel Standard.
In a letter to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week, http://bit.ly/…, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America made the claim petroleum marketers will not be able to legally sell E15 because underground storage tanks are "non-compatible." In addition, the group asks Barrasso to work toward reducing RFS volumes because of "severe" economic harm.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reportedly continues to hold up the nomination of Bill Northey to a post at the USDA until President Donald Trump's administration holds a meeting with oil companies and lawmakers from oil-producing states.
In the letter to Barrasso the PMAA said, "As you meet with the Trump administration to discuss the RFS, PMAA respectfully requests that you take small business petroleum marketers' concerns into consideration."
In response, the RFA contacted Barrasso to counter the PMAA claims about E15, http://bit.ly/….
"Since 1990, all steel tanks and double-walled fiberglass tanks have been approved to store up to 100% ethanol," RFA said in a letter to Barrasso.
"Further, all double-walled fiberglass tanks and piping have been manufactured for storage of 100% ethanol since 1990 and 1988, respectively. EPA issued guidance in 2001 allowing tank manufacturers to issue letters to fuel retailers and authorities having jurisdiction stating the compatibility of their tanks with specific ethanol blends. All existing tank manufacturers have issued such letters, and today most installed tanks are compatible with E15."
The RFA said while there may be some tanks still in service older than 1990, "they are rare and no one is advising retailers use non-compatible equipment."
The RFA news release said the group works with equipment manufacturers and vendors to ensure compliance with all regulations. "The expansion of E15 and E85 has continued at a brisk pace in 2017 with more than 1,000 new stations of both fuels expected by the end of the year," RFA said in the letter, noting the expansion would continue into next year.
The PMAA told Barrasso in the letter the RFS should be capped at 9.7% for ethanol blends.
"PMAA's push to cap the RFS at 9.7% is severely outdated, and certainly does not reflect today's market reality," the RFA said.
"Indeed, the U.S. gasoline pool already contained slightly more than 10% ethanol on average in 2016. These new stations, and the additional volumes associated with E15 and E85, move the needle even more, further demonstrating that even more ethanol can be blended in the future. There is no basis whatsoever to PMAA's claims and there is no legal justification for this group or any other to seek a reduction in ethanol volumes under the RFS.
RFA President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen said the PMAA should work on making available the fuels consumers are seeking.
"PMAA's unfounded claims about E15 storage and the need to limit ethanol under the RFS are just a sad parroting of big oil's false narrative," Dinneen said.
"The truth is that E15 can be safely stored at the overwhelming majority of underground storage tanks and there is absolutely no reason why EPA should reduce ethanol volumes as part of the RFS. PMAA would be better served educating their members on how to offer consumers cleaner, cheaper, higher octane fuels that consumers prefer."
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN
© Copyright 2017 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.