Lawmakers push for year-long E15 sales

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KTIV) - The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule to allow sales of gasoline with higher ethanol blends. Supporters believe higher blends like E15 could be a win for corn growers.

Gov. Jim Pillen, (R) Nebraska spoke in South Sioux City Tuesday for the Siouxland Ethanol LLC annual meeting in front of shareholders.

Pillen was among several lawmakers at the Siouxland Ethanol shareholders meeting. They’re hopeful the EPA’s rule change regarding sales of E15 will lead companies to blend even more of the corn-based fuel additive into gasoline.

“We really want to get our gas tanks to E15. Across the country, it’s really, really important for energy independence, and for our environment,” Pillen said.

Siouxland Ethanol is located in Jackson, Nebraska and is an ethanol producer. President and CEO Nick Bowdish said progress has been made with laws regarding ethanol, but there is still progress to be made. One of those bills is LB 562 in the Nebraska Unicameral. It would provide commercial access to E15 throughout the state of Nebraska.

“It’s just critical that we have policymakers that understand we don’t need taxpayer handouts to fund agriculture. If we are just given the opportunity to market access, our products will stand on their own,” Bowdish said.

U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith of Nebraska has introduced bipartisan legislation in the House that’s being considered in the Senate. It would allow for year-round E15 sales. He said EPA limits on E15 need to be reevaluated.

“I think we need to further remove the barriers that exist the regulatory barriers that exist that are ultimately based on old information,” Smith said.

Smith added, the goal is making E15 more accessible to help the state’s economy.

“Ultimately, we want agriculture via an economically viable opportunity. We as consumers need that to happen as well. So, you know, various dynamics, whether it’s EPA regulations that have that have stood in the way of year-round E15,” Smith said.

Right now, the EPA enforces summertime regulations preventing E15 sales because of concerns it contributes to smog in hot weather.