EMA to Biden Administration: Fix the Corn Ethanol Mandate Now

This week, EMA sent a letter to the EPA Administrator Michael Regan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese requesting urgent action to reduce the corn ethanol mandate to 9.7 percent of projected gasoline demand to address the current E15 crisis.

The Administration is under significant pressure to provide relief from labor union leaders and Senators from his home state of Delaware. The EPA is currently considering whether to keep RFS blending obligations flat, opt for a modest decrease or to delay compliance deadline for 2021 blending mandates as was done in 2019 and 2020.

“EMA fully believes in renewable fuels and their importance in the liquid fuels market, and we are currently working with Congress to ensure that future federal grant funds be available for small business energy marketers to upgrade their underground storage tank system equipment to safely and legally sell E10 plus blends. However, if the RFS continues to go unchecked, the majority of retail sites across the country will be unable to legally sell the new product due to non-compatible underground storage tank (UST) system equipment. To point out the facts of infrastructure compatibility issues is not being anti-ethanol. To the contrary, we must ensure that ethanol continues to be sold in a safe and legal manner for it to have a promising future,” said EMA President Rob Underwood. Click here to read EMA’s letter.

Last week, labor union leaders requested urgent action to “reduce the skyrocketing cost” of biofuel blending credits (RINs) “and preserve American union jobs.” According to union leaders, the cost for U.S. refiners to pay for RINs to meet annual blending mandates, particularly ethanol credits, siphons off money for refinery upgrade projects that typically employ thousands of union workers.

RIN prices hit a high of $2.00 last week. Democratic senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper of Delaware met with EPA Administrator Michael Regan to discuss broad relief for refiners. The senators proposed options including a nationwide general waiver exempting the refining industry from specific obligations, lowering annual blending mandates, and creating a price cap on RINs credits.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled in favor of small refiners seeking exemptions from RFS blending requirements. The 6-3 decision overturns an earlier finding by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said EPA could only extend existing waivers from the RFS. Click here for the story.

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