Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following statement:
"We were encouraged to hear Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler commit to completing the year-round E15 regulatory fix before the summer driving season begins, but we are disappointed that there was no commitment to repair the significant damage to the ethanol industry caused by his predecessor's issuance of RFS compliance bailouts to highly profitable oil refiners. America's ethanol producers and farmers continue to suffer as a consequence of former Administrator Pruitt's actions, and we remain hopeful that Mr. Wheeler will use far more restraint and judiciousness as he evaluates the 22 petitions for 2018 small refiner exemptions now before the agency.
"And despite Mr. Wheeler's assurance on the timing of the E15 rule, we remain concerned that the partial shutdown is compressing a timeline that was already very tight. We believe EPA would greatly improve its chances of getting the regulatory fix done before summer if it separated the year-round E15 provisions from so-called 'RIN reform' provisions that are also being considered as part of this rulemaking package."
Just yesterday, RFA launched an awareness campaign on E15, which includes advertising, an educational web site, and countdown clock to the summer driving season—which, as of today, is just 135 days away.