No Go

Source: By ANTHONY ADRAGNA, POLITICO • Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2017

NO GO: Lacking the votes needed for passage, the Senate EPW Committee won’t bring up legislation allowing for the year-round sale of fuel consisting of 15 percent ethanol at a business meeting next week, Pro’s Eric Wolff and Alex Guillen report.

Before the markup agenda was posted this, EPW committee Republicans had been less than enthused about allowing more ethanol into the fuel system and were prepping at least four amendments for a possible markup next week of Sen. Deb Fischer‘s E15 bill. A Republican Senate aide told ME the group is planning on filing amendments to sunset the conventional biofuel mandate typically filled by corn ethanol and to cap the amount of ethanol in the fuel system at 9.7 percent. The amendments would have also sought to make the E15 waiver contingent on EPA completing required Clean Air Act studies on ethanol and certifying that E15 doesn’t effect air quality, and to make the waiver contingent on the cost of the Renewable Fuel Standard credits staying low.

What about Dems? Committee Dems have been tight lipped about what they’ll do, but they have leverage given that Fischer needs six of them to pass her bill. Sen. Tom Carper, the committee’s top Democrat, told reporters he’s very concerned about the six merchant refiners that employ many Delaware workers, and he wants transparency in the RFS credit markets to help them out. He also said his colleagues want some kind of protection or policy help for cellulosic ethanol, which has so far been the big disappointment of the program. The committee has five possible Democratic presidential contenders among its ranks, and they may be thinking about the needs of Iowa caucus goers as they contemplate their vote.

Not all advanced biofuel companies: More than two dozen advanced biofuel and cellulosic ethanol producers and associations sent a letter asking EPW committee leadership to support a clean bill. The letter argues that the bill does enough to support cellulosic ethanol by simply increasing the market for ethanol, and no further amendments will be needed.

Or maybe it’s moot: Growth Energy, an ethanol producer’s group, predicted late Thursday night that the bill wouldn’t make the cut. “We are disappointed the Environment and Public Works committee decided not to consider the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517 (115)) before August recess,” Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, said in the statement.