Wheeler uncertain about ethanol RFS issues
August 2, 2018
Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday that the agency lacks the authority to reassign the ethanol blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard that small refiners had shed after receiving waivers from the agency, and that he could not commit to issuing a rule allowing year-round sale of the E15 blend.
"Part of the original intent in Congress was to grant waivers and there is not a provision for reallocating that," Wheeler told Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on EPA's agenda, according to report in Politico.
"We're trying to be more clear and transparent on granting the refinery waivers," he added.
On allowing year-round sales of E15, Wheeler also told Ernst, "We can certainly start that process. As you know, senator, there are certainly people who don't believe we have that authority. There was legislation last year that would have given EPA that authority. We are looking at that issue, as we've discussed."
Wheeler seemed to contradict President Donald Trump, who recently said the administration is close to allowing year-round E-15 sales.
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., told Wheeler to "expedite" a new rule expanding E15 sales, insisting that EPA owed it to farmers, Politico reported.
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"You've taken care of small refiners, now you need to take care of small farmers," Rounds said.
The American Coalition for Ethanol in a release said it "extends our highest gratitude" to Ernst, Rounds and Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., "for confronting Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler about the ethanol demand destruction created by an unprecedented number of small refinery exemptions (SREs) and how EPA intends to reallocate the waived gallons, as well as the need to make good on the president's repeated promises to allow E15 use year-round."
"This is another example of the strong bipartisan support in congress for making sure EPA follows the law while implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard. … It is important for Acting Administrator Wheeler to make good on the president's promises to maintain the RFS as the law of the land and allow E15 year-round."