Seven Governors Want New E15 Rulemaking

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 4, 2021

Midwest Governors Set to Request EPA Action to Allow E15 Year-Round Sales

A group of Midwest governors is pressing EPA Administrator Michael Regan to conduct a new E15 rulemaking, after a federal court vacated a previous rule. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)
A group of Midwest governors is pressing EPA Administrator Michael Regan to conduct a new E15 rulemaking, after a federal court vacated a previous rule. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) — The return of year-round E15 sales may be around the corner after a group of seven Midwest governors announced they are preparing to ask EPA to create a new rule.

A federal court earlier this year vacated the Trump administration rule that allowed those sales, raising the likelihood there will be no year-round E15 sales beginning next driving season. So far, the Biden administration has not announced action in response to the court action.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on Thursday, the governors said they are preparing to make a formal request for a new E15 rulemaking and want that rule in place by the next driving season.

“Fuel marketers and retailers, renewable fuel producers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state governments have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to expand consumer access to low-cost, clean-burning fuels like E15,” the governors said in the letter.

“Not only does the recent court decision threaten to strand these public and private investments, but it also jeopardizes the progress we’ve made toward cleaning up our fuel supply and reducing emissions from transportation.”

The letter is signed by Govs. Pete Ricketts, Nebraska; Kristi Noem, South Dakota; Kim Reynolds, Iowa; Tim Walz, Minnesota; Doug Burgum, North Dakota; Michael Parson, Missouri; and Tony Evers, Wisconsin.

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA administrator has authority to write regulations that would put E10 and E15 on equal footing when it comes to volatility regulations, the governors said, “thus re-opening the door to unencumbered, year-round sales of both fuels.”

The Clean Air Act establishes that when a governor makes a request, the EPA administrator “shall apply” volatility limitations to ethanol blends that exclude the benefit of the 1-pound per square inch Reid vapor pressure waiver provided to E10.

“If approved, it is our understanding that such a request would result in a volatility limitation of 9 psi for both E10 and E15 in conventional gasoline areas, thereby establishing a level playing field and allowing retailers to use the same gasoline blendstock for both blends all year long,” the governors said.

“We understand that some states have already requested and secured approval of such action by the administrator, meaning the recent court decision will not impact the ability of retailers in their states to sell E15 year-round.”

 

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