Senate bill to extend RVP waiver introduced by Donnelly

By Erin Voegele | May 11, 2015

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., has introduced legislation to extend the U.S. EPA’s waiver for Reid vapor pressure (RVP) to ethanol blends beyond E10.

The bill, S. 1239, was introduced May 7 and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. To date, Sens. Chuck Grassley; R-Iowa, and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., have signed to cosponsor the measure.

“Biofuels like ethanol are renewable domestic energy sources, create more economic opportunities, and give consumers more options at the gas pump,” Donnelly said. “This legislation would expand the RVP waiver for ethanol blends, increasing the market for ethanol producers in Indiana and around the country and making more clean fuels available to consumers year-round. We should be pursuing an all-in approach toward American energy production that includes ethanol and other biofuels because it helps our economy and increases our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. I am proud my colleagues Senator Grassley and Senator Fischer are joining me in this bipartisan effort to reduce the burden of regulations on ethanol producers and consumers.”

“Consumers appreciate having choices, whether it’s at the grocery store or the fuel pump,” Grassley added. “Those of us who live in biofuels-producing states understand the appeal of cleaner, domestic, renewable fuels. The EPA should be consistent in the way it treats different fuel blends as a matter of fairness and to give consumers more options for fueling their vehicles. The EPA has never acted on its authority to grant a Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15. This bill proposes a legislative fix to fill the void.”   

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, has spoken out to commend Donnelly, Grassley and Fischer on recognizing the need for competition in the marketplace. “The current regulatory treatment of E15 creates a disincentive for retailers to sell E15 or higher biofuel blends, even though they improve the quality of our air, and denies consumers access to a fuel that meets their price and performance needs,” Buis said. “This legislation has the potential to remove this major obstacle and encourage the adoption of new fuels that will benefit our environment, our economy and our energy security.”

“We are hopeful that this legislative effort is successful and that summertime sales of E15 will no longer be restricted. Consumers should not have to check their calendars to see if they will have a choice when they pull up to the pump,” he continued.

The legislative effort to extend the RVP wavier to ethanol blends greater than E15 is not limited to Donnelly’s bill. Several other pieces of legislation that have been introduced this year also contain provisions to extend the EPA’s RVP waiver.

In March, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Grassley introduced the Fuel Choice and Deregulation Act of 2015, or S. 889, which contains language to extend the waiver.  In April, Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, introduced H.R. 1944, the House companion to the legislation introduced by Paul and Grassley. Also in April, Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., introduced H.R. 1736, which also aims to extend the RVP waiver.