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ND Delegation Comments on President Trump’s E-15 Decision

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of allowing the sale of E15 fuel year-round.

The rule change on the use of the corn-based fuel could have wide-reaching effects across the industry and consumers.

Here is what the North Dakota delegation said regarding Trump’s E15 ruling.

Senator John Hoeven issued the following statement after the president directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to include 15% ethanol blended gasoline (E15) and stabilize the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market.

“The president has now directed both the EPA and the USDA to address the RVP issue, which will enable E15 to be sold year-round. This is a helpful for farmers who will have increased market for their products as well as consumers who will have more options at the fuel pump. At the same time, EPA needs to address the small refinery exemption to increase transparency and ensure that it works for both traditional and renewable energy producers. We look forward to reviewing EPA’s proposed rule to ensure that it works for both traditional and renewable energy producers.”

Hoeven has spoken with both U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to encourage them to address the RVP issue and to improve transparency in the small refinery exemption to ensure that the renewable fuel standard is fair to both renewable and traditional industries.

Congressman Kevin Cramer released the following statement after President Trump announced his rulemaking decision on ethanol blends up to 15 percent:

“I welcome President Trump’s announcement directing the EPA to provide a Reid vapor pressure waiver for ethanol blends up to 15 percent to be sold year round, allowing additional ethanol consumption if the consumer demands it. This is good news for North Dakota’s corn and ethanol producers. I have always been an advocate for reducing regulation that prohibits market demand if there’s no sound basis for doing so. I’m also pleased to see the President call for greater transparency improvements to the RFS credit market, building off the improvements acting Administrator Wheeler announced last month to help prevent market manipulation. I look forward to reviewing the proposed rules from the administration and working with North Dakota stakeholders throughout this process to get the best outcome possible for our producers, industry and consumers.”

Cramer has been a longtime supporter of the action taken by the President, including an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1311, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which would extend the Reid vapor pressure waiver for gasoline blended with more than 10 percent ethanol. The maximum allowable Reid vapor pressure regulation for summertime gasoline blends set by the EPA is established to reduce emissions of pollutants that form ground level ozone. Research has shown, from a vapor pressure perspective, there is no reason to treat higher blends of ethanol differently from E10.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires minimum volumes of renewable fuel in U.S. transportation fuel, is monitored for compliance using tradable credits called renewable identification numbers (RINs). President Trump has called for limiting RIN purchases only to those required to comply with the RFS, refiners and importers, otherwise known as obligated parties. He also called for public disclosure of certain large holders of RINs and limiting the length of time a non-obligated party can hold RINs, among other reforms for consideration. Last month, the EPA released new public information and committed to greater transparency of the RFS program.

Cramer is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on the Environment which has jurisdiction over the Clean Air Act and the RFS. He was also selected to serve on a bipartisan RFS working group with five other members of the Committee.

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp released the following statement after the administration announced plans to allow year-round sale of E15, which Heitkamp has strongly pushed for to support North Dakota farmers and biofuel producers.

“In my longstanding fight for North Dakota farmers, I’ve repeatedly told the President and everyone in this administration who would listen that year-round E15 would be a boost for rural America, and I’m encouraged they finally listened,” Heitkamp said. “This victory has been a long time coming for North Dakota farmers and biofuel producers. At a time when the trade war is threatening commodity prices, we need to do everything we can to support farmers, and upholding our commitment to biofuels is one way to give ag producers some much needed certainty. After working in a bipartisan way to build support for E15 and protect the RFS, I look forward to continuing to work with the President and the administration to make sure this policy is implemented in a way that protects farmers and biofuel producers in North Dakota.”

Heitkamp has long pushed the President and administration officials to strongly support biofuels and allow year-round sale of E15. In 2016, she met with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and secured a commitment from him to live up to the administration’s stated support of a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to support farmers and biofuel producers.

Last March, Heitkamp spoke out forcefully against reports that the administration was considering an artificial cap on Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices, threatening to sink the price of biofuels like ethanol, and pushed for year-round sale of E15.

After helping to secure a commitment from the President to enact the policy last April, Heitkamp repeatedly pushed former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to carry it out. When Andrew Wheeler took over as Acting EPA Director in July, Heitkamp immediately pushed him to make year-round E15 a top priority and urged him to visit North Dakota to see firsthand the impact that renewable fuels have on North Dakota’s economy.

Last month, Heitkamp urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to push for year-round E15 in an effort to help farmers who are being hurt by the trade war.

Heitkamp has been leading the fight for a strong RFS and against efforts to undermine the important program for North Dakota farmers and ethanol producers. She has repeatedly pressed the administration to uphold its commitment to a strong RFS, and led a bipartisan push to urge the EPA to increase its proposed 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for biodiesel.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Heitkamp has been a vocal advocate for biodiesel and ethanol – industries that support over 400,000 American jobs, including many in North Dakota. Heitkamp has fought for the EPA to provide certainty to farmers and biofuels workers, and has continually pressed the agency to issue a strong RFS rule.

In North Dakota, nearly 50 percent of corn can be turned into ethanol, according to the North Dakota Corn Growers Association, reinforcing how important it is that we maintain a robust biofuels market through the Renewable Fuel Standard.

According to a study conducted last year by LMC International and released by the National Biodiesel Board, the 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel used by Americans in 2015 supported 47,400 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages, and had an $8.4 billion economic impact.