South Dakota ethanol supporters call on Trump to approve E30

Source: By South Dakota Farmers Union • Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2020

With the majestic Mount Rushmore as a backdrop, South Dakota ethanol supporters are calling on President Trump to take a “monumental step” by opening the world’s largest gasoline market to higher blends like E30, thus demolishing the so-called “blend wall.”

In an advertisement that ran in the Rapid City Journal while the President is in the state, supporters cite the $8 billion potential economic impact the ethanol industry can have on the South Dakota economy if illegal regulatory barriers are removed. South Dakota has led the nation in the commercialization of 30 percent ethanol blends which according to many experts can play a critical role in providing clean-burning high-octane, low-carbon fuels needed by today’s higher efficiency engines. With demand for agriculture products hit hard by trade wars and the coronavirus, increasing ethanol volumes would provide a much-needed boost to farmers throughout the Midwest, according to South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke.

“Farmers don’t want taxpayer handouts—we want the ability to compete freely in the gasoline marketplace. For an Administration that prides itself on removing ill-conceived and burdensome regulations, this should be a no-brainer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to increase octane in gasoline, which would provide a huge boost to ethanol.  It also has the legal obligation to substantially reduce the toxic, carbon-intensive, oil-based compounds refiners currently use for octane,” said Sombke. The National Farmers Union and a number of biofuel and environmental groups are challenging EPA in court to reverse its refusal to increase octane

Proponents of moving to an E30 blend point to the strong leadership of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem who previously declared Feb. 25, 2020 Premium E30 Day. Noem is part of a group of Midwest governors who are implementing EPA-approved E30 demonstration programs in their state fleets. Much of this momentum, according to ethanol producer Glacial Lakes Energy LLC in Watertown, stems from the successful E30 Challenge championed by GLE and SDFU. Over the past 10 years, hundreds of millions of trouble-free miles have been driven on E30. After its carefully supervised demonstration involving the entire city of Watertown, GLE CEO Jim Seurer says all cars on the road today can efficiently use the lower-cost, higher-performance E30 blends, but that EPA’s artificial blend wall must be dismantled before consumers nationwide can benefit.

Supporters also note that another extremely important issue higher ethanol blends can address relates to the coronavirus. There is a substantial body of evidence that if EPA were to substantially reduce the toxic compounds in gasoline as they are required to do under the Clean Air Act, it would significantly reduce fine particulates that may be carriers of the Covid-19 virus.

New science released by Argonne National Laboratories, USDA experts, and a number of respected universities have confirmed that high-yield U.S. corn acres’ deep root structures and biomass generate significant amounts of soil organic matter. In the process, corn acres sequester millions of tons of carbon dioxide each year, equivalent to taking tens of millions of cars off the roads. Corn’s extraordinary ability to sequester CO2 means that ethanol produced from the starch of feed corn is an ultra-low carbon fuel with a carbon footprint equal to or less than that of electricity used to power electric vehicles.

“This is about allowing America’s Ethanol industry to facilitate greater freedom of choice for American consumers while supporting agriculture and protecting our health,” said Sombke. “EPA has illegally manipulated data to create barriers that unfairly protect petroleum refiners while harming the public health and welfare and rural communities. With a stroke of his pen, Mr. Trump can tear that wall down by directing his EPA to enforce the laws now on the books.”