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The ball’s in Congress’ court on year-round E15

The ball’s in Congress’ court on year-round E15

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When the Environmental Protection Agency lifted outdated restrictions on E15, a 15% ethanol fuel blend, in 2019, that was great news for Nebraska corn producers and the ethanol industry. The action ultimately allowed for E15 sales year-round.

But recently a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision reversed that action and took our country back to the restriction of allowing E15 only during the summer.

This ruling underscored the need for Congress to act to make it clear that our government recognizes there is no scientific reason for the restriction on ethanol blends.

Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., and Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., quickly acted to introduce legislation in their respective chambers that would allow year-round E15 sales.

Smith, co-chair of the U.S. House Biofuels Caucus, introduced the legislation along with other members of the caucus.

The legislation would ensure that the EPA may grant waivers to allow E15 and higher blend fuels to be sold at retailers year-round. He said it would provide key stability and predictability for family farmers and biofuels producers across the country.

Smith long has been a supporter of the uninterrupted sale of E15. He said year-round sales of E15 provide consumers consistency in their fuel tank and farmers consistency in their production.

Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said her bill, Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, would extend the Reid vapor pressure volatility waiver to ethanol blends above 10%.

According to Fischer, her bill would increase market access and continue to allow retailers across the country to sell E15 and other higher-ethanol fuel blends year-round, eliminating confusion at the pump.

She said higher blends of ethanol burn cleaner, providing a way for more Americans to be part of the climate solution.

Nebraska is ranked second in the nation in biofuel production and has 25 operating ethanol plants across the state. These plants produce more than 2 billion gallons of renewable fuel annually and have created more than 1,300 good-paying jobs. More than 40% of Nebraska’s corn crop is made into ethanol.

These statistics show why it is so important to our state that ethanol be available to motorists without restrictions on blends of more than 10% all year long.

Agriculture is a major component of the Nebraska economy and we must speak up to support our corn farmers and ethanol companies, both by pressuring Congress to act and by putting ethanol blends in our vehicles to show the interest in ethanol by our country’s citizens.

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