When EPA Secretary Pruit toured the states of South Dakota and Iowa in June, he was met by farmers protesting the Agency’s unwillingness to make good on a promise by President Trump to allow E15 to be sold all year round.
At issue is an EPA regulation on Reed vapor pressure (RVP) that effectively bans 15% ethanol fuel blends from being sold in most markets during the summer even though E15 has lower RVP emissions than gasoline sold in the same markets.
In April, 18 Senators (including all from ND, SD, & MN) signed a letter asking Pruit to expedite the rulemaking process on the President’s commitment. Yet two months later, there has been zero action by the EPA.
In the months preceding the Senators letter on E15, the EPA was aggressively granting ‘hardship’ waivers intended for smaller refiners that would otherwise face severe financial hardship complying with the Renewable Fuels Standard. Dozens of these waivers have been granted including Andeavor, one of the country’s largest refiners, and CVR Energy, owned by billionaire Carl Icahn. On June 6th, farm and renewable fuel groups petitioned the EPA to account for an estimated loss of 1.5 billion gallons in ethanol volume. “These lost volumes are having a negative effect on the nation’s corn growers at a time when net farm income is project to hit its lowest point in 12 years,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes.
Ethanol groups expressed relief, however, that they succeeded to convince the White House not to proceed with a proposal to allow RIN credits for exports on renewable fuel. (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol & Growth Energy)