Biden EPA Gives Major Handout To Big Corn

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an emergency waiver to allow a higher-grade of ethanol fuel be sold over the summer, a major win for the Midwestern corn industry.

The EPA granted similar emergency waivers last year, allowing the sale of 15% ethanol blends known as E15, in a bid to keep spiking gas prices down following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Politico reported. Midwestern lawmakers and ethanol advocates had sharply criticized a proposed EPA rule in early March — which would have permanently allowed the sale of E15 in eight Midwestern states beginning in 2024 — for being too slow and caving to oil interests. (RELATED: ‘The President Got This One Wrong’: Senate Dems Revolt Against Biden’s Chinese Solar Rules)

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting Americans from fuel supply challenges resulting from the ongoing war in Ukraine by ensuring consumers have more choices at the pump,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a press release announcing the waiver. “Allowing E15 sales during the summer driving season will not only help increase fuel supply, but support American farmers, strengthen U.S. energy security, and provide relief to drivers across the country.”

Without the waiver, EPA regulations would require the sale of a lower-grade 10% blend of ethanol, known as E10, due to smog concerns related to E15. The waiver takes effect on May 1 and lasts for the statutory maximum of 20 days, although the EPA said it expects to extend waivers “until such time as the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances due to the war in Ukraine are no longer present,” according to the agency’s press release.

The EPA move was praised by Iowa’s Republican Senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Iowa GOP Reps. Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra have made past comments in support of an E15 waiver for 2023. The move was also praised by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), an ethanol trade group, which estimated that last years’ waivers saved U.S. consumers roughly $60 million overall and between 20 to 30 cents per gallon at the pump.

“EPA’s action allowing summertime E15 will help extend gasoline supplies, prevent fuel shortages, protect air quality and reduce carbon emissions,” Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the RFA, said in a statement.”We thank EPA, [U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy], and the entire Biden administration for ensuring drivers across the country will continue to have access to lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 all summer long.”

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