Midwest Ag Senators see a chance in new Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to win regulatory relief for use of 15-percent ethanol blends of gasoline, now severely limited in summertime by evaporation requirements. Senators from Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and South Dakota wrote Pruitt that EPA has refused to give E15 the same waiver for evaporation limits it gives to conventional E10 gasoline.
The lawmakers, including Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts, complain the policy severely limits sales of E15 between June 1st and September 15th, the peak summertime driving season, forcing retailers to turn to expensive, custom-tailored gasoline blend-stock.
American Farm Bureau Federation congressional relations director Andrew Walmsley says that’s an issue for the ethanol industry.
“So that’s obviously been a challenge, especially in those areas where waivers would be needed and E15 couldn’t be utilized,” he said. “So it is an impediment to getting more biofuels into the market, even though EPA has approved E15 for 2000 and newer model year cars.”
The ethanol industry lobbied former EPA chief Gina McCarthy to put E15 and E10 on equal footing, arguing the agency had effectively made E-15 a seasonal fuel. Walmsley says the EPA has many options.
“There’s a bunch of different options to get more fuel into the marketplace and that was the original intent of Congress,” Walmsley explains. “The blend wall would always have been an issue but when you look at when the RFS was signed into law in 2007, it was intended to put more of renewable fuel into the fuel supply. We’ve reached that point and we’ve obviously seen resistance from our friends in the oil industry.”
The obvious question is whether Scott Pruitt, former attorney general of oil patch Oklahoma, and an RFS skeptic, will now see a reason to relax ethanol blending limits. Pruitt told ethanol state lawmakers he’d enforce the RFS law, but went no further.
Source: NAFB News Service