Ethanol interests have been raising concerns this week about the Environmental Protection Agency delaying the start of the rulemaking process for year-round E15 until February 2019, which would make the timeline for getting it approved before next summer very tight.
“EPA ought to speed it up, or otherwise it’s going to look like the president wasn’t serious about his announcement,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) this week. “We don’t need this sort of bureaucratic red tape with something that’s been discussed in Washington for years.”
The issue was brought up during a roundtable discussion Thursday with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Sen. Mike Rounds and Rep. Kristi Noem at POET Biorefining in Chancellor, South Dakota. “EPA bureaucrats already appear to be slow-walking the rule, which raises doubts it can be done by June 1,” said American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings, who attended that roundtable. “We cannot accept EPA slow-walking the process after the President made such a big splash announcing it for rural America, particularly our farmers who are hurting from low corn prices.”
Secretary Perdue is optimistic it will happen. “Federal regulations take more time than certainly I would like, but we believe the E15 rule will be in place prior to next year’s driving season,” he told reporters in Illinois this week – USDA radio news story 10-25-18
Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper says they would very much like to see a proposal out sooner than February, but the administration has assured them it can be done before next summer. “We’re certainly hopeful that’s the case but it’s going to take the pedal to the metal to make that happen,” said Cooper during a conference call with reporters Thursday. He confirmed that some retailers may be hesitant about making the commitment to E15 now based on promises for next year, while a couple have already jumped on board since the president made the announcement earlier this month.RFA CEO Geoff Cooper comments on E15 rulemaking timeline