WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delay in allowing year-round use of E15 gasoline threatens harm to markets for family farmers, according to National Farmers Union (NFU). NFU President Roger Johnson Tuesday wrote to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging EPA to immediately institute a waiver for summertime sales of E15.
Johnson noted that year-round use of E15 would have significant benefits for farmers, the economy, energy independence, and the environment. Currently, an arbitrary restriction on use of E15 in summer months is limiting the amount of ethanol that can be blended into the nation’s transportation fuel supply. Yet while EPA has been actively working on allowing year-round use of E15 since October 2017, and President Donald Trump committed to allowing an E15 waiver earlier this year, EPA has yet to take any action or provide any time table as to when a waiver can be expected. This delay in issuing a waiver is threatening to upend any potential benefits of a waiver in the upcoming summer months of 2018.
“It is now May, and the summer restrictions on E15 for this year are looming with no apparent movement from EPA on this issue,” said Johnson in his letter to Administrator Pruitt. “Year-round use of E15 is not a new issue for EPA; this has long been supported by the biofuels industry and agriculture. We urge you to act in an expedited manner to follow President Trump’s direction to allow the use of E15 this summer.”
Johnson noted that farmers are currently facing severe economic difficulties, and that recent actions by EPA, such as granting numerous small refinery exemptions with little information to the public, have exacerbated these difficulties by undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard and demand for higher blends of ethanol. Johnson said a waiver on E15 is an important first step to mitigating these issues and moving the country towards use of higher blends of ethanol, like E30.
“Farmers have worked hard to build value-added markets,” he said. “The RFS and E15 provide significant economic opportunities for farmers facing increasing uncertainty and loss of demand. EPA must provide appropriate signals to the market, and this Administration must follow through on its promises.”