With the government shutdown threatening to further delay approval of year-round sales of E15 (gasoline containing 15% ethanol), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to focus strictly on year-round E15 provisions in its forthcoming proposed rule and address RIN reform measures in a separate action.
President Trump announced last October that he was directing the EPA to complete a rulemaking to eliminate the “unnecessary and ridiculous” summertime ban on E15 before May 31. However, EPA was also planning to include “RIN reform” measures in the upcoming proposed rule. But with just 133 days remaining before the summertime prohibition on E15 sales begins, EPA is running out of time to propose, seek comment on, and finalize a rule allowing year-round E15 sales. In a letter submitted Thursday to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, RFA noted that “bifurcating” the proposal into two separate actions would greatly enhance EPA’s chances of meeting its May 31 deadline.
“Finalizing the year-round E15 rulemaking no later than May 31 will take a Herculean effort,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Therefore, we respectfully request that EPA bifurcate the rulemaking into two separate actions, moving forward immediately on the year-round E15 provisions and considering RIN reform in a subsequent and secondary action.”
The letter notes that, unlike the year-round E15 provisions, there is no deadline by which RIN reform measures must be finalized in order to allow fair and efficient operation of the market. “While we support efforts to bring more transparency to the RIN market, there is no urgency to move forward quickly with RIN reform provisions,” according to the letter. “This is particularly true as the previous uproar from refiners about ‘high RIN costs’ has been reduced to a murmur as RIN prices have collapsed to historic lows.”
Just this week, both President Trump and Administrator Wheeler pledged again to complete the rulemaking actions necessary to allow E15 to be sold this summer in conventional gasoline markets. Also this week, RFA launched an awareness campaignon E15, which includes advertising, an educational website, and a countdown clock to the summer driving season.
A copy of the January 17 letter is here.