News & Ideas

ACE Welcomes Long-Awaited E15 Proposal, Slams RFS Waivers

Sioux Falls, SD (January 15, 2021) – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that on January 19, with one day left in the Trump administration, the Agency will issue a proposed rulemaking on E15 label revisions and underground storage tank compatibility, and separately will seek comment on waiver petitions from refiners and Governors of oil states under the 2019 and 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance years. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings responded in the following statement:

“ACE strongly supports EPA’s proposal to make E15 more accessible to retailers and motorists, but once again, the Trump EPA has chosen to bundle a promise to do right by ethanol with a poison pill gift to oil refiners. EPA relied on a similarly distorted game plan when it allowed the use of E15 year-round but nullified the potential upside of that rule with scores of illegal refinery waivers of the RFS.

“Instead of breathing life into unwarranted petitions from refiners and oil-state Governors to waive the 2019 and 2020 RFS alongside its proposal to treat E15 like other fuels, EPA should have denied the waiver requests outright because the petitioners failed to meet the thresholds established by the law and previous precedent. The statute is clear; to secure a general waiver of the RFS, a petitioner must provide evidence to EPA that implementation of the RFS itself is the cause of severe economic harm, not outside factors such as COVID-19. In fact, the waiver requests from refiners and oil-state Governors complain about the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic but fail to admit the fact that ethanol producers also experienced a collapse in demand due to COVID-19. By choosing to seek comment on the RFS waivers instead of denying them outright, EPA is creating uncertainty about RFS blend levels and downward pressure on RIN prices, which in turn, will reduce incentives to blend E15 and E85 and increase gas prices for consumers.

“We remind the Administration that oil refiners are not the only ones suffering from the economic fallout of the current situation. Ethanol producers, and the farmers supplying them corn, are suffering a proportional economic disaster. We’ll work diligently with the incoming Biden administration to open new markets for low carbon fuels and quickly dispense with these disingenuous RFS waiver requests.”

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