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EPA releases proposed rule to extend use of E15

News Staff - March 13, 2019

WASHINTON, D.C. - There’s a lot at stake and a short comment period on the EPA’s release of its proposed rule to allow sales of E15 and higher blends of ethanol year-round.

In a news release, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said, “EPA is working to propose and finalize these changes by the summer driving season,” which starts June 1st and is also the date when E15 sales are currently restricted.

Representatives from the American Coalition for Ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Association are optimistic the EPA has covered its bases in terms of the legal implementation of the proposed rule but not nearly as confident on the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) side of things.

Typically, the White House takes a 30-day review process. But the proposed rule was only at the White House for a week or less – something industry insiders say bodes well for a continued high speed effort to get the proposed rule in place by June 1, 2019 to allow for its use in the summer driving season.

But others point to a federal agency known for its slow response and what will be a contentious comment period, along with a small window of 80 days to implement, as reasons why the ethanol shouldn’t count its chickens before they’re hatched.  

The area of the proposed rule that is likely to result in the most debate are changes to how Renewable Identification Number—or RIN– credits are handled.  Those reforms will be the subject of debate among refining, blenders and wholesale interests, many of which had accepted the current rules. In the announcement, EPA proposes reforms including: preventing certain parties from being able to purchase RINs; requiring public disclosure of RIN holdings above specific thresholds; limiting how long a non-obligated party can hold RINs; and increasing disclosure requirements from annual to quarterly reporting.

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) said that the proposed rule could result in approximately 700 million gallons of additional ethanol sold annually, or 280 million bushels of corn. “As South Dakotans know, corn and corn ethanol production are vital components of our economy,” Rounds observed.  “The corn ethanol industry supports thousands of jobs in our state and contributes a significant amount of revenue to our local communities. Year-round sales of E-15 would be a huge win for our state.”

EPA will take public comment on the proposal and intends to hold a public hearing on March 29. Additional details on the comment period – that is currently set to end April 29, 2019 - and public hearings will be available shortly, according to a statement from the EPA.

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785