Year Round E15…Check, now what?
While we can all celebrate a “win” with EPA’s new RVP rule that allows for year-round sales E15 fuel, there are some additional immediate actions required in ethanol policy close to home.
- Get E15 into Kansas City by Fixing Obsolete Regulations
- Keep the pressure on EPA and the Adminsitgration to deny refinery waivers
- Pass the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 that would set a deadline for refineries to apply for RFS waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process. Representative Roger Marshall is among the U.S. House Members introducing that bill.
Getting E15 Into Kansas City
First and foremost, the Kansas City metro area, both KS and MO sides, is exempted from the rule, meaning year round E15 sales are still not permitted. Obviously, this being by far our largest potential nearby market, that is not acceptable. Why is KC exempted? KC is under a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to allow the metro area to stay in attainment for increased ozone levels. This SIP, developed in the early 90’s using outdated numbers and at a time when no one envisioned higher ethanol blends being widely available, sets RVP levels that essentially bans ethanol blends greater than 10% during the summer driving season.
Kansas Corn, Missouri Corn and Renew Kansas are hard at work to lobby both states to alter the SIP and the associated state regulations. Additional education and outreach to our urban neighbors will be required. Also, this is a great item to mention to your local state Representatives and Senators. Even though this is a Kansas City issue, being able to sell higher blends in our largest market has great potential to benefit the entire state economy, especially the rural areas.
Governor’s Rural Prosperity Meetings
The Governor’s office announced a series of Rural Prosperity meetings taking place all over the state. We don’t have full details on the first set of meetings yet, just the following dates and cities:
Nickerson, June 17; Atchison, June 20; Colby, June 24; Phillipsburg, June 25; Ulysses, July 8; Dodge City, July 9; Garnett, July 22; Independence, July 23; Concordia, July 31; Sabetha, Aug. 1; Lindsborg, Aug. 7, and Winfield, Aug. 8.
Please plan on attending these meetings to weigh in on ag issues, and to tell the Governor and Lieutenant Governor that a very easy way to help out the rural economy is to change the outdated regulations for ethanol use in Kansas City. This can be done without legislative action, the ball is in their courts, and, this won’t cost the state a single dime to do so. (Not to mention the cleaner air that higher blends provide and savings to consumers at the pump!) If you think this all sounds like common sense, please plan on helping us out by attending a meeting near you.
We will be in touch with locations as well as suggested talking points as we get more information. So, in summary, we might have “won” on the national front, but we have some issues “close to home” to solve.
RFS Waiver Issue
While EPA has helped the ethanol industry with the year-round E15 rule, will it hurt us by granting oil refinery waivers from the RFS? While corn farmers are happy that the barrier to year-round E15 has been lifted, we won’t be able to reap the full benefits if EPA continues to allow oil companies to avoid blending biofuels in compliance with the RFS.
NCGA Renewable Fuels Public Policy Director Kathy Bergren participated in a Capitol Hill briefing this week for U.S. House of Representatives staff to help explain the damaging effects the EPA’s expansive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to large, profitable refineries and recommend solutions.
Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS exemptions to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel—that is equal to 932 million bushels of corn demand. EPA currently has 39 waiver petitions pending for the 2018 RFS compliance year. These waivers have taken a toll on farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.
Kansas and National Corn Growers Associations support the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 that would set a deadline for refineries to apply for RFS waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process. Representative Roger Marshall is among the U.S. House Members introducing that bill.