Durbin asks Wheeler to commit to finalizing E15 rule by June

By Erin Voegele | February 14, 2019

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is urging the U.S. EPA to finalize a rule to allow year-round sales of E15. Due to the delay created by the recent government shutdown, he said he is concerned with the agency’s ability to complete the rule by this summer.  

On Feb. 13, Durbin, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, sent a letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stressing that the month-long delay caused by the government shutdown will require a more expeditious effort from EPA to complete the rule before the start of the summer driving season on June. 1.

“Illinois farmers are increasing frustrated with continually shouldering the economic headwinds of decisions made in recent months by this administration,” he wrote. “For example, soybean exports have dropped precipitously due to irregular U.S. trade decisions, risking overseas market opportunities to our foreign competitors. Export pressures have required the administration to issue public assistance-type relief to farmers and livestock producers, which were also interrupted due to the shutdown. Instead of preparing to implement the new farm bill, or providing farmers with programs and statistical reports that they need to prepare for sprint, the shutdown caused the administration to close offices, creating additional stress not only for farmers but also for rural staff that remained unpaid for the duration of the shutdown.

“Net farm income has not been strong,” Durbin continued in the letter. “With farm debt and servicing and production costs facing higher pressures, and market prospects for 2019 still unclear, EPA failure to complete this rule by the summer will only add to the uncertainty faced by the agriculture community.”

Durbin closes the letter by asking Wheeler to publically commit to completing the E15 rule before June. He also urges Wheeler to outline the steps EPA will take to ensure the rule is finished on time.

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Durbin’s website.