Top Biofuel Leaders Testify at EPA E15 Hearing

Source: By CSD Staff • Posted: Monday, April 1, 2019

The EPA proposal would allow the sale of E15 year-round, without additional RVP control.

Several of the U.S. biofuel leaders testified in favor of E15 at a public hearing today in Ypsilanti, Mich.

On March 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed allowing the sale of E15 year-round.

Gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol (E15) would fall under the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that previously only applied to E10.

This would allow the sale of E15 year-round, without additional RVP control. The current limitation on E15 restricts sales between June 1 and Sept. 15.

Some U.S. biofuel leaders testified in favor of this change:

Kim Reynolds, Iowa Governor:
“I commend the EPA for working hard to ensure that this E15 rulemaking can still be completed by June 1, when the summer E15 restrictions would otherwise go into effect … President Trump made a commitment to Iowa last October, and Iowans expect it to be kept … It is not the topic of focus today, but I would be remiss not to urge the EPA to change its course on granting small refinery exemptions to the RFS. The billions of gallons of exemptions granted over the last year have wreaked havoc on rural Iowa and on farmers … Moreover, we have seen alarming press reports that lawsuits challenging these exemptions have unearthed facts that the DOE’s analysis and recommendations to deny at least half of the exemption requests were ignored by the EPA.  In fact, to date, not a single small refinery exemption has been denied during the entire Trump Administration. As refiners enjoy record profits, Iowa farmers are hurting, ethanol plants have been shuttered, U.S. ethanol use has declined … I realize that most of these exemptions were granted under the previous EPA administrator, so I ask Administrator Wheeler to chart a new course.”

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy:
“For motorists, the value proposition of E15 is clear. Drivers typically save up to 10 cents per gallon, while E15’s superior octane rating provides better engine performance. The value to our planet is equally compelling. E15 is a cleaner fuel that reduces evaporative emissions and greenhouse gas emissions. It replaces toxic fuel additives associated with cancer, asthma, and smog … Across the heartland, more than 200 biofuels plants support their communities, and these plants are under incredible strain. Many have already shut their doors or idled production in recent months. The recent flooding across the Midwest has only exacerbated these tough times, not to mention the 2.6 billion gallons lost to small refinery exemptions. With year-round E15, EPA has the opportunity to give American farmers and producers the ability to grow greater demand and expand market access for their homegrown fuel.”

Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA):
“We strongly support EPA’s proposal allowing E15 to take advantage of the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 during the summer months … While RFS small refinery exemptions are not the explicit subject of this rulemaking or today’s hearing, we feel compelled to remind EPA that continued abuse of the SRE program would significantly undermine the ethanol market expansion intended to result from finally allowing year-round sales of E15.”

Kevin Ross, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) First Vice President and Minden, Iowa, farmer:
“Continued low commodity prices and consecutive years of declining farm income, coupled with recent trade disruptions and EPA’s expansive RFS waivers for refineries, are taking a toll on farmers, my friends, and my neighbors. While year-round E15 cannot offset the harm from refinery waivers, higher blends of ethanol are a no-cost means to grow demand … Farmers stand ready to work with the Administration to clear obstacles to higher blends of ethanol such as E15 and ensure a final rule works for the full ethanol and fuel supply chain.”

Brooke Coleman, Executive Director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council:
“RVP parity is in fact important to the commercial deployment of advanced and cellulosic ethanol, which needs head space to attract investment… Four-season E15 optionality will help on the market constraint side, and we appreciate that, but we cannot afford another deluge of small refinery exemptions again this year. As noted in the rule, waivers further balloon our RIN carry over stock and depress RIN prices, and the retroactive nature of these waivers adds insult to injury, as it puts innovators on their heels against tremendous regulatory uncertainty.”

Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA):
“If you adopt RIN procedures that eviscerate the value of RINs, as this proposal does, then you have eviscerated the incentive to expand the use of renewable fuels, which is the main purpose of the RFS. With no actual market manipulation to address, this proposal wreaks of a backdoor attempt to simply rip the heart out of the RFS. It must not stand … I do want to end by commending the EPA for including a solid and defensible plan for granting year-round E15 sales that, if adopted, would be a boost to the RFS, fuel consumers, renewable fuels producers, farmers, and rural America.”

The EPA said it will finalize these changes by June 1, the start of the summer driving season.