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RENEWABLE FUELS ASSN: EPA DECISION ON GOVERNORS’ E15 PETITIONS A ‘DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD’
Source: Renewable Fuels Association news release

The Environmental Protection Agency's decision today to approve long-delayed petitions from eight Midwest governors allowing summertime sales of E15 is a double-edged sword for American consumers, the Renewable Fuels Association said. On one hand, the EPA decision finally allows retailers in these eight states to sell E15 year-round. But on the other hand, it delays implementation until 2025, creating uncertainty and confusion about the availability of lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 this coming summer. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following reaction to today's EPA decision:

"While we are pleased to see EPA has finally approved year-round E15 in these eight states, we are extremely disappointed by the Agency's needless decision to delay implementation until 2025. It's helpful to finally have some certainty about 2025 and beyond, but what happens this summer? The Biden administration missed its statutory deadline to finalize the governors' petition by more than 500 days, and now it claims there just isn't enough time to implement the rule in time for summer 2024.

"Why should ethanol producers, farmers, fuel retailers, and consumers in these states be penalized for EPA's foot-dragging and failure to meet a clear deadline? With the 2024 summer driving season just a few months away, we are urging the administration to take additional action that will ensure consumers have uninterrupted access to lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 this summer."

Cooper also said RFA is urging Congress to adopt legislation that would resolve this issue permanently. "If Congress passed the bipartisan Nationwide Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, we wouldn't be in this situation. But a couple of stubborn East Coast refiners and their champions in the Senate continue to put up roadblocks to the enactment of this commonsense legislation that would slash emissions and reduce fuel prices for consumers. It's time to lay aside parochial oil refiner interests and do what is right for the country."

BACKGROUND

Nearly two years ago, eight Midwest governors sed their authority under the Clean Air Act to formally petition the EPA for the removal of the 1-psi volatility waiver for E10. This action would reduce emissions and permanently level the playing field for E15 in their states. By law, EPA had 90 days to approve the Governors' petition, yet the agency did not propose approval of the petition until March 2023.

This effort has long had broad support. Bipartisan legislation to allow permanent nationwide E15 (the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act) was introduced in the House in December 2022 and in the Senate in March 2023. The current legislative vehicle, the Nationwide Consumer and Retailer Choice Act, was introduced in the Senate in August 2023, the same month when the attorneys general of Iowa and Nebraska filed a complaint in federal court regarding EPA's failure to meet its statutory deadline. And in December, a bipartisan group of 22 members of the House and Senate called on the White House to move quickly on the governors' petition.

In his "state of the industry" presentation Tuesday at the National Ethanol Conference, Cooper stressed the importance of this issue. "E15 will not be the stabilizing market force we need until the summertime RVP barrier is permanently removed and the fuel is available year-round. Securing RVP parity for E15 remains a top priority for RFA and we won't stop until we've accomplished that mission."


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