Representatives Angie Craig, Adrian Smith Lead Bipartisan Effort from Congressional Biofuels Caucus in Introducing Legislation to Allow Year-Round E15 Sales

Source: By Office Representative Angie Craig • Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN) and Adrian Smith (R-NE) led Co-Chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus in introducing the Year-Round Fuel Choice Act, bipartisan legislation that would ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can grant waivers to allow E15 and higher blend fuels to be sold at retailers year-round. Craig and Smith introduced the legislation after a federal appeals court struck down an EPA rule that lifted restrictions on the year-round sale of certain corn ethanol fuel blends. The legislation would provide key stability and predictability for family farmers and biofuels producers across the country.

Craig and Smith were joined in leading the introduction of the Year-Round Fuel Choice Act by caucus co-chairs Representatives Cindy Axne (D-IA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Dusty Johnson (R- SD) and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

“E15 and higher blend biofuels expand markets for family farmers, support economic growth in rural America and cut down on dangerous pollutants released into the air we breathe,” said Representative Craig. “It’s long past time that the year-round sale of these renewable fuels was made permanent, expanding the market for lower-cost, lower-carbon fuel choices all across America. I’m proud to work with Representative Smith on this critical legislation to support our biofuels producers and family farmers, while expanding options at the pump for consumers across the country.”

“I have long championed the uninterrupted sale of E15 to provide consumers consistency in their fuel tank and farmers consistency in their production,” said Representative Smith. “Time after time I’ve introduced legislation to emphasize and reinforce EPA’s authority to allow the year-round sale of E15. With the recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling to roll back RVP waivers, it’s imperative we clarify congressional intent once and for all: there is no reason E15 should not have the same regulatory relief as E10.”

Earlier this month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an EPA rule that allowed retailers to sell E15 blends of ethanol year-round by granting a waiver from Reid Vapor Pressure requirements. The court ruled that the EPA had exceeded its authority by lifting summertime restrictions on the sale of ethanol blends. While the court’s ruling has not yet taken effect, Craig and Smith’s legislation would preempt any restrictions by providing a legislative fix to ensure the permanent year-round sale of E15 and higher blend biofuels.

In Congress, Representative Craig has been a longstanding champion of family farmers and biofuels and an outspoken critic of efforts to weaken the Renewable Fuel Standard. Earlier this year, Craig led the introduction of the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act, which would ensure transparency in the small refinery waiver process. Craig also worked with Representative Randy Feenstra to introduce the bipartisan SRE Clarification Act to clarify and rein in small refinery exemptions in order to prevent the further expansion and abuse of a waiver process that has negatively impacted family farmers and ethanol producers for several years.

The bipartisan Year-Round Fuel Choice Act is supported by Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association. The co-chairs were joined in introducing this legislation by Representatives Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Jason Smith (R-MO), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Ron Estes (R-KS), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Mike Bost (R-IL), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Jim Baird (R-IN), James Comer (R-KY), Michelle Fishbach (R-MN), Ron Kind (D-WI) and Darin LaHood (R-IL).

Below are statements in support of the Members’ bipartisan legislation:

“We’re grateful our congressional champions acted swiftly on behalf of farmers, biofuel producers, and drivers nationwide to introduce the Year-Round Fuel Choice Act,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The Year-Round Fuel Choice Act would make permanent the RVP waiver for summertime use of higher blends of biofuels, ensuring consumers have year-round access to a lower-carbon, lower-emission renewable fuel that saves money at the pump. As this country works to address climate change, we must embrace ready solutions that can be implemented today to immediately reduce our carbon emissions in our current auto fleet. This legislation comes at a critical time on the heels of a court ruling that would allow the oil industry to monopolize the gas tank and push aside low-carbon renewable fuels. We will continue to work with our Congressional champions to see this legislation through, and fight to give Americans an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment by filling up on earth friendly fuel blends like E15.”

“We salute the leadership of Reps. Craig and Smith for providing a legislative remedy to allow E15 sales to continue unencumbered after the court rejected EPA’s regulatory waiver,” said Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “The ethanol industry, fuel retailers, and drivers themselves deserve clarity and consistency, and E15 is an American-made low-cost, low-carbon solution our country needs right now. Increasing drivers’ access to higher-level blends like E15 remains a top priority for RFA, and we are committed to working with leaders in Congress and the administration to make that a reality.”

“Corn growers stand behind the many benefits of higher ethanol blends like E15 and support ensuring its continued access to the marketplace on the same terms as standard ten percent blends. E15 is lower in carbon, tailpipe and evaporative emissions, not to mention lower in price, so it’s no surprise oil companies are trying to shut it down,” said John Linder, National Corn Growers Association President. “NCGA appreciates the bipartisan leadership of Representatives Craig and Smith toward a durable solution that would allow continued market access and expansion for proven low carbon fuel in E15 and stands ready to work with Congress and the EPA to provide certainty for consumers, retailers, our environment and rural economies.”