Peterson Cautiously Optimistic on new EPA rule on E15

Mar 13, 2019 Issues: Energy

WASHINGTON (March 13, 2019) – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota released the following statement in response to the EPA’s proposed rule to allow E15 waiver and to improve RIN market transparency:

“I applaud the EPA’s release of this proposed rule. It is long overdue and the result of much hard work on the part of U.S. farmers, the ethanol industry, and the Congressional Biofuels Caucus.

The efforts to bring transparency to the RIN system are needed, but I’m afraid that connecting these two issues in one rule is going to bog down moving forward on both.  This would affect the E15 timeline and I would want to make sure it’s done by summer driving season.

And while I applaud the efforts in this rulemaking, it doesn’t lessen the damage caused by the Administration’s misuse of the small refinery exemption.

I encourage the Administration to consider all options to advance the viability of our domestic biofuels industry, including a more efficient pathway process at EPA and ensuring access for biofuels in export markets.”

The EPA announcement follows years of advocacy work to allow E15 to be sold year-round by the biofuels industry, agriculture producers, and Congressional Members who support renewable fuels. The EPA regulates the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) of gasoline sold at retail stations between June 1 and September 15. During this timeframe, gasoline blends with 15% ethanol are not allowed to be sold at retail stations, causing inconsistent sales of E15. Long overdue, the EPA is beginning to remedy this issue with today’s proposed rule.

The agency has history of granting so-called small refinery exemptions to profitable refineries. These waivers allow refineries to avoid their blending requirements under the RFS, removing renewable fuel gallons from the marketplace. Since 2017, the EPA granted 48 waivers which allowed refineries to avoid blending 2.25 billion gallons of ethanol into the marketplace. Before major changes are proposed to the RIN marketplace, the EPA should address the overuse of these waivers.