Letter encourages U.S. EPA to finalize proposed rule that would allow the blend to be sold all year. Rule could take effect this summer.

Letter encourages U.S. EPA to finalize proposed rule that would allow the blend to be sold all year. Rule could take effect this summer.

Finalizing year-round sale of E15 remains one of IFB’s top national legislative priorities for the year. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

By Deana Stroisch

Year-round sales of E15 will result in “significant, measurable and noticeable economic and environmental benefits” across the country, according to Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr.

“Illinois Farm Bureau members strongly support expanded use of all renewable fuels,” Guebert said. “We firmly believe it’s time to end the outdated, unscientific summertime prohibition on the sale of E15.”

Guebert encouraged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to quickly finalize a proposed rule that would allow year-round sale of E15 nationwide to begin as early as this summer. IFB’s letter of support was submitted to the Federal Register on Monday as part of a formal rulemaking process.

Finalizing year-round sale of E15 remains one of IFB’s top national legislative priorities for the year.

IFB members produce and deliver corn to 14 ethanol plants in Illinois with a combined annual production capacity of 1.875 billion gallons. Guebert noted roughly one of every nine gallons of U.S. ethanol production capacity is in Illinois, and corn – the state’s highest value ag commodity – is the exclusive feedstock for Illinois ethanol production.

“USDA valued Illinois corn at $8.2 billion in 2018,” Guebert wrote. “At a time when farmers face trade uncertainty, depressed crop prices and low net farm income, there is both an economic and a scientific imperative to modify motor fuel regulations and provide flexibility for year-round E15 sales.”

In 2015, USDA created a Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership to support the infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to consumers. Illinois was the second-largest participant of the program, Guebert noted. Sixty-five Illinois gas stations matched nearly $12 million in federal grants and installed 428 blender pumps and 54 underground fuel-storage tanks. But most of the infrastructure expansion occurred in the Chicago area, where E15 can’t be sold from June 1 to Sept. 15.

EPA also proposed changes to the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard “to enhance transparency in the market and deter price manipulation,” according to an EPA news release.

IFB urged EPA to ensure that proposed RIN market reforms are fair to those who are blending biofuels.

“RIN reform should not create disincentives to blend biofuels nor pave the way for another end run around the RFS program,” Guebert wrote. “Such a move would become immediately apparent to Illinois farmers.  And it would no doubt raise the ire of those who are still paying the price for EPA’s recent implementation decisions.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

 

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