May 21, 2019
By Erin Voegele
The House Biofuels Caucus sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler May 20 expressing support for year-round sales of E15, calling on the agency to complete its pending E15 rulemaking before June 1, and urging the agency to complete its proposed RIN reforms in a separate rulemaking.
“While we applaud the agency’s effort to finalize the rule before this year’s summer driving season, we ask that the RVP and RIN market provisions be separated into two rules and incorporate the following remarks,” the caucus wrote.
For the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver for E15, the caucus said it agrees “that E15 is substantially similar gasoline to E10 and should be treated as such when granting the  pound per square inch (1-psi) waiver on RVP limitations,” and noted the action will ease labeling confusion at the pump and extend market opportunities for U.S. agriculture communities that desperately need it.
“However, we are concerned that EPA’s proposal would create inefficiencies in the marketplace due to unnecessary restrictions on the components that can be used for blending,” the caucus wrote. “If E15 meets all applicable environmental standards, EPA should not restrict what blending components are used to make the fuel.”
Regarding RIN market reform, the caucus said its supports increased transparency in the RIN market to ensure competitiveness and fairness in RIN pricing. “However, provisions in the EPA’s proposed rule will create significant price advantages towards obligated parties that are short on biofuel blending requirements,” the caucus wrote.
“By establishing different compliance periods and RIN retirement requirements for refiners and retailers, the EPA’s current proposal penalizes early actors who are brining biofuels to market and creates a financial advantage for those entities who have been slow to comply with the intent of the law,” the caucus continued in the letter. “Any RIN reforms need to further the objectives of the RFS, which is to blend more biofuels, not undermine them. Action must be taken to ensure that the final rule does not tilt the playing field to the benefit of profitable merchant oil refiners at the expense of farmers, biofuels producers, fuel retailers, and rural communities.”
Growth Energy has spoken out to thank the 20 members of the House Biofuels Caucus for sending the letter. “We are grateful for the continued support of champions on both sides of the aisle who are fighting for a strong rule that will ensure more biofuels reach consumers at the pump,” Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “The rural economy is at a breaking point, and it’s vital that EPA act by June 1 to uphold the president’s commitment to farm families and allow retailers to keep more homegrown fuel on the market this summer.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa; Darin LaHood, R-Ill.; Steve King, R-Iowa; Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.; Mark Pocan, D-Wisc.; Adrian Smith, R-Neb.; Don Bacon, R-Neb.; Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.; Cindy Axne, D-Iowa; Angie Craig, D-Minn.; Steve Watkins, R-Kan.; James Comer, R-Ky.; Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa; Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.; Tom Emmer, R-Minn.; Pete Stauber, R-Minn.; and Sam Graves, R-Mo.
A full copy of the letter can be downloaded here.
Read the original article: House Biofuels Caucus Asks EPA to Split E15, RIN Reform Rule