EPA Set to Allow Year-Round Sale of E15 Fuel
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to enact a change in the nation’s fuel policy, allowing the year-round sale of higher-ethanol E15 gasoline.
Led by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, the governors and other lawmakers from several midwestern states have been lobbying for the change, which they argued makes good economic sense for their communities and would make more fuel available to the nation’s drivers.
But the going had been slow. It took seven months — until last December — for the White House Office of Management and Budget to even announce it was reviewing the governor’s request to permanently eliminate the 1-psi Reid vapor pressure waiver for E10 in their states.
E15 is typically banned from June to September under the Clean Air Act because it evaporates more quickly than other fuels, raising air pollution concerns.
On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency published a proposed rule giving the governors almost everything they wanted.
The rule sets that change in motion, only the agency has said it won’t take effect until the summer of 2025, a year later than biofuel boosters like Reynolds had hoped.
If the rule is adopted, it would remove the 1-psi waiver in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin on April 28, 2024.
It would also establish a regulatory process by which a state could ask to reinstate the 1-psi waiver.
“While long overdue, I am thrilled that the EPA has approved our multi-state bipartisan RVP waiver request that will pave the way for year-round E15 and bring certainty to the industry,” Reynolds said from Orlando, Florida, where she will address the National Ethanol Conference on Thursday.
“However, the arbitrary delay in implementation this summer is unacceptable and disappointing, but hardly surprising. Iowa won’t accept it without a fight,” Reynolds said. “I look forward to requesting another emergency waiver for this year while at the same time asking the courts to require the administration to grant our request immediately. Iowans, and all Americans, deserve immediate access to lower-cost, American made E15.”
Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production with 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing 4.5 billion gallons annually — including 34 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity — and 11 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 410 million gallons annually.
The EPA will hold a virtual public hearing for the proposed rule in late March or early April 2023. There will be no in-person hearing.
In order to attend the virtual public hearing, all attendees (including those who will not be presenting verbal testimony) must register by sending an email to [email protected] A separate registration form must be submitted for each person attending the hearing. Please register no later than one week prior to the hearing.
In order to allow everyone to be heard, the EPA is limiting verbal testimony to three minutes per person.
Speakers will not be able to share graphics via the virtual public hearing. Speakers will be able to request an approximate speaking time as part of the registration process, with preferences considered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue
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