Senator Joni Ernst Says Biden Administration Needs to Move More Swiftly on Year-Round E15

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — U.S. Senator Joni Ernst says the Biden administration’s decision on year-round Ethanol-15 is long overdue — and six and a half months too late.

German-owned Politico reported on Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency will finally propose authorizing the year-round sale of gasoline blends containing 15 percent ethanol in Iowa and other Midwest states. But the rule would not take effect until 2024.

“Permanent #E15 year-round in the Midwest is good, but way too late. Not kicking in til 2024!” Ernst tweeted. “Biden’s decision is over 200 days past @EPA’s lawful deadline, and not in time for the 2023 driving season.”

The senator said Biden must grant an emergency waiver for the year.

Ernst and fellow Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley have urged the Biden administration to move on a regulatory measure critical to Iowa’s $88.3 billion agriculture industry — an industry that supports 315,000 jobs at north of $17.5 billion in wages.

Ernst last month led a bipartisan, bicameral letter demanding the Biden administration remove regulatory barriers for gasoline-ethanol blends—like E15—and implement the long-awaited request of Midwest governors, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Gasoline producers, however, are worried the year-round blends would hurt supply and drive up fuel prices, the last thing Biden needs after last summer’s record gas prices topping $5 a gallon nationally.

EPA proposed approval of petitions removing the fuel volatility waiver for gasoline-ethanol blends with 10 percent ethanol in eight states — Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The change would allow the states to sell E15 throughout the year.

Ernst joined 30 of her fellow Senate and House colleagues in the Midwest states telling the EPA that the current system of relying on annual emergency waivers in not a permanent solution for retailers, consumers, or the environment.

“By workers swiftly to finalize the Governors’ requests, you will bring much needed certainly to our corn growers, fuel retailers, and consumers to enjoy the clean-burning, lower cost benefits of year-round E15 through the 2023 summer driving season,” the lawmakers wrote in last month’s letter.

But not so fast, said the EPA.

“EPA also received multiple petitions from stakeholders requesting an extension of the effective date to the summer of 2024,” the agency wrote in its proposal. “This action proposes to delay the effective date for one year consistent with statutory provisions. EPA proposes an effective date for all states of April 28, 2024.”

The EPA plans to hold a virtual public hearing for the proposed rule in late March or early April.

“Biden’s EPA is past due for action on E15. That’s why we’re demanding they act now because we have a big old summer driving season ahead,” Ernst told The Iowa Daily Star this week on “Need to Know With Jeff Angelo”, on NewsTalk 1040 WHO.

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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Joni Ernst” by Joni Ernst. 



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