EPA delivers E15/RIN reform rule to OMB for review

By Erin Voegele | March 05, 2019

On March 4, the U.S. EPA delivered its proposed rule to allow year-round sales of E15 and reform the renewable identification number (RIN) market to the White House Office of Management and Budget. OMB review marks a final step before the proposal is released for public comment.

According to a notice posted to the OMB website, the rule proposes regulatory changes to allow gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol to take advantage of the 1 pound-per-square-inch Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver that current applies to E10 during the summer months. The rulemaking also proposes regulatory changes to modify certain elements of the RIN compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard program in an effort to improve RIN market functioning.

President Trump pledged support for year-round E15 sales in April 2018. He reiterated support for the fuel blend at an Iowa event in mid-2018, and directed the EPA to begin a formal rulemaking process to allow year-round sales in October.

The EPA was originally expected to release its proposed E15/RIN reform rule in February, but was delayed by the recent government shutdown. During a Feb. 27 congressional hearing, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressed doubt that the EPA could complete the rulemaking before the June 1 start of the summer driving season, and indicated the USDA was encouraging the agency to announce discretionary enforcement of current regulations limiting summer E15 sales. At a Senate hearing the following day, Perdue corrected his remarks, stating he now expects the EPA to complete the rulemaking by June 1. A statement released by the EPA on Feb. 27 confirmed the agency plans to release the E15/RIN reform proposal in March and finalize the rule before the start of the summer driving season.