U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a relentless advocate for Iowa’s biofuel community, Tuesday called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to certify biofuel infrastructure for E15 and remove unnecessary labeling which will increase consumer access to E15 – a cleaner, cheaper choice at the pump.
In a letter to Administrator Wheeler, Ernst wrote, “Two years ago, I worked successfully with you and President Trump to get E15 sold year-round. One year later, we sat in the Oval Office and created an agreement to further strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by investing in biofuel infrastructure including streamlining labeling and removing other barriers to the sale of E15. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great loss of demand for biofuels. You must act now to initiate a rulemaking process and follow through on this agreement to provide certainty to our Iowa farmers.”
Ernst continues: “Consumers have now driven more than 15 billion miles on E15, retailers have had millions of transactions, and it has been sold for nearly a decade (since 2011), all without a single reported issue. It makes little sense why the black and orange warning label cannot be addressed immediately.”
In her letter, Ernst demands Administrator Wheeler respond to the following questions:
- Will you commit to begin the rulemaking by October 4, 2020, one year after the RFS agreement was announced, to move forward with expediting the sale of E15 through existing infrastructure?
- You have said this is a complicated issue, please provide detailed clarification as to what you view as the remaining hurdles in this process.
- Your EPA already approved E15 for all 2001 and newer light-duty vehicles which account for 95% of the vehicle miles driven today. When will you move forward with removing the unnecessary labeling as you committed to last fall?
In May, Ernst led a bipartisan effort urging the Trump Administration to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and reject requests for the RFS to be waived.
And last month, Ernst announced she would block the nomination of Doug Benevento, the nominee to be the Deputy Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and any other EPA nominee until the agency discloses how they plan to address the 52 “gap year” waivers.
Ernst also called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide additional funds to the biofuels industry through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which was bolstered by the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package she helped passed.