SDFU: Say no to E15 rule, farmer leader says we can do better

Source: By Farm Forum • Posted: Monday, April 1, 2019

HURON, S.D. — On the eve of a public hearing to receive comments on the long awaited ruling to allow year round Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief for E15, the South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) called the rule a backdoor effort to limit ethanol blends.

In a call with supporters today, SDFU President Doug Sombke said the rule would limit the allowable volume to 15% when higher blends such as E30 significantly reduce vapor pressure and would provide far greater benefits in reduced emissions and displacement of toxic compounds refiners put in gasoline.

“While we certainly want to see E15 in the marketplace we have the ability to produce and use far greater volumes. There is no justification for granting this waiver to E15 but not to E20 or E30, particularly given the successful demonstration of E30 we have seen here in South Dakota,” said Sombke.

Sombke explained that the U.S. EPA is relying on a complete misinterpretation of what is called the substantially similar (sub-sim) provision of the Clean Air Act. This requires additives to be tested and approved as not altering or affecting the characteristics of gasoline. SDFU and many others have previously appealed to EPA to recognize that ethanol is now considered part of the base, or certification fuel in the U.S. and therefore is not subject to volume limits under sub-sim.

The proposed rule by EPA would require blends above E15 to go through lengthy and costly testing that based on EPA’s history, might never be approved. What makes this such a critical issue, according to Sombke, is the fact that EPA has granted waivers to the refining industry resulting in a demand loss of billions of gallons of ethanol and hundreds of millions of bushels of corn. E15 alone will never make up this loss in volume according to numerous private and government studies.

“With regard to the proposed rule, this isn’t a question of whether EPA is doing the right thing-it’s a question of not doing enough of the right thing. More ethanol is better -better for everyone if we reduce the carcinogens in gasoline, better for the energy security of our country, and better for farmers and the rural economy. Don’t limit us by unnecessary regulations that can easily be changed,” he said.

Sombke also referenced several provisions of the Clean Air Act that clearly illustrated the intent of Congress to not limit ethanol blends, particularly with respect to displacing the cancer causing benzene and benzene derivatives in gasoline.

“This is not that complicated — stop the waivers. Open the market to higher blends. Fix this RVP rule and recognize that all ethanol blend are an improvement over toxic gasoline. We call on farmers to join us and oppose this rule until they do so. Otherwise we are going to look back 10 years from now with a smaller share of the market and loss of demand for corn and ethanol and wish we had fixed it when we had the chance.”

If you’d like to comment on the EPA E15 ruling, visit this link: