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Senators Press Pruitt to Allow Year-Round E15 Sales

  • Tuesday, 01 May 2018 12:25

E&E News 

April 30, 2018

By Marc Heller

A group of pro-ethanol senators asked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today to speed the agency's approval of year-round sales of higher-ethanol fuel, reminding him of President Trump's recent comments in favor of the change.

"Allowing an open marketplace with more fuel options for consumers encourages competition and drives down consumer fuel costs," wrote Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and 17 other senators from both parties.

In addition, they said, greater availability of E15 fuel — which is 15 percent ethanol — would help farmers at a time of declining farm income and reduce air pollution compared with the 10 percent ethanol now sold in most gas stations.

In their letter, the senators asked Pruitt for a timeline to make the change through formal rulemaking, and they urged "immediate clarity" to allow sales of higher-ethanol blends in the interim.

"Doing this will fulfill the president's commitment to allow consumer's access to these fuels year-round, expand consumer choice, and eliminate confusion at the pump," they said.

Trump said earlier this month that the administration would allow E15 to be sold year-round, a process that requires an EPA waiver under so-called Reid vapor pressure rules. The RVP rules restrict certain types of fuel based on their ability to evaporate and contribute to ozone pollution, but the senators said the regulations are outdated.

Pruitt told farm broadcasters in an interview last week that EPA lawyers have been looking into the issue for months, trying to find the most solid legal footing to ease the restrictions. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has referenced increased E15 availability as a possible negotiating tool in easing parts of the federal renewable fuel standard (E&E News PM, April 26).

The other senators signing the letter were Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

Reprinted with permission from E&E News 

Read the original article: Senators Press Pruitt to Allow Year-Round E15 Sales

Read the Senators' letter here.