Senate Enrolled Act 303 was vetoed by Governor Eric Holcomb Monday evening. This bill would have updated language regarding ethanol and the ability to sell E15 year-round in the state of Indiana. It also would have required an additional label be placed on the pump dispensing E15 that could have been confusing to consumers.
Ethanol groups and the Indiana Corn Growers Association were calling on Holcomb to veto the bill. Tim Phelps is the executive director of the Indiana Ethanol Producers Association and had this statement regarding the veto:
“The Indiana Ethanol Producers Association is grateful to Governor Eric Holcomb for his veto of Senate Enrolled Act 303. Indiana is ready for E15 – a higher octane, cleaner-burning fuel that saves motorists money and today is approved for use in over 95 percent of all vehicles on the road. Biofuels like ethanol are a crucial piece of the Indiana economy and E15 represents a tremendous opportunity for our state. It will boost farm incomes, grow grain markets, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Governor Eric Holcomb and Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch are true champions for Hoosier farmers and our state’s biofuel industry.”
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement applauding the governor’s veto:
“We are deeply grateful to Governor Holcomb and Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch for listening to the concerns of Hoosier biofuel producers and standing up for rural families,” said Skor. “From the very start, SEA 303 was fueled by a wave of misinformation. Hoosiers already enjoy legal access to lower-carbon, lower-cost E15 at 79 locations, and this veto is an important step toward ensuring greater competition at the pump, lower prices for drivers, and stronger markets for Indiana farmers.”
CountryMark was urging Holcomb to sign the bill into law so it would provide them clarity on selling E15 year-round. CEO Matt Smorch says the veto was disappointing.
“CountryMark’s purpose for all of this, our goal for that bill to pass, was simple for us. We want to be able to sell more ethanol blended fuel in the state of Indiana. With the way Indiana’s definition of gasohol is, we don’t believe that gives us the ability to sell E15 at our terminals during the winter months. So, it is disappointing, but we’re going to continue to work with different groups to hopefully make that happen in the future.”
Smorch says they’ll work with the state and the Governor’s office as well to see about getting clarity on year-round E15.
While the bill was waiting for Governor Holcomb’s signature or veto, Smorch says CountryMark was accused of being “anti-ethanol” for their support of the bill. He says that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“We are a farmer owned cooperative. We support renewable fuel blending. We did that long before we even had a Renewable Fuel Standard. Really, our intention is to sell more renewable fuels.”
In his veto letter back to the Indiana Senate, Holcomb did say he supported the provision that redefines gasohol and would make it clear that E15 can be sold year-round in the state. He encouraged the General Assembly to clear that up next year.