We’re disappointed to hear the news out of Washington that the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has determined they won’t take a vote prior to the August recess on a bill that would expand market access for E15. The legislation, S. 517 Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, would address an arbitrary rule that has limited the sale of E15 to only flex fuel vehicles in summer months. IL Corn supports the committee’s passage and full Senate passage of S. 517 as soon as possible.
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), has been quite vocal in her support of the legislation that would extend to E15 the same waiver given to E10, allowing retailers to offer E15 without restriction from June 1 to September 15. She is joined in her strong support by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) who also sits on EPW.
In a statement provided to the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Senator Duckworth said, “It’s deeply disappointing that despite broad bipartisan support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, we have been unable to move forward with legislation that will make it easier to power our cars with American-grown biofuels like corn and soybeans. Having fought to defend this nation, I’ve seen firsthand the price we pay for our dangerous dependence on oil imported from our adversaries. Unfortunately, there are some Senate Republicans and members of the Trump Administration who disagree – namely EPA Administrator Pruitt, who has a history of representing the oil industry when he was the Oklahoma Attorney General, and Carl Icahn, a White House advisor who owns an oil refinery and has been working to weaken the Renewable Fuel Standard. I hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are able to use the August recess to come together and go to bat for renewable fuels, not give in to the wishes of the oil industry.”
EPA approved the use of E15, a fuel with lower RVP emissions than E10 in 2011. Unfortunately, EPA refuses to apply the same RVP standard for E15 that applies to E10, effectively and arbitrarily limiting the sale of E15. This bill provides a legislative fix.
According to a news report from Bloomberg, the previously planned markup of the bill which had been scheduled for July 26th would have included a strong statement against the bill from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who said it will hurt the industry in his oil-rich state. Reportedly, Inhofe has a planned speech supported by the oil industry in his state that would have pushed for additional modifications to the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“Bottom line, the renewable fuel standard is a win-win,” Duckworth said during a June hearing. “The RFS creates good-paying jobs in Illinois and across the Midwest and spurs further innovation in the biofuel industry while helping reduce our nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil. For the sake of consumers nationwide, farmers, and our environment, we should make it easier for people to power their cars with renewable fuel year-round.”