EPA denies requests to extend comment period on E15/RIN rule

By Erin Voegele | April 29, 2019

The U.S. EPA has denied two requests to extend the comment period for its proposed E15/RIN market reform rule. The agency said “extending the comment period would hinder the agency’s ability to make a decision in a timely manner.”

The EPA released the proposed E15/RIN market reform rule March 12. It includes 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) wavier that currently applies to E10 during the summer months. The proposed rule also seeks to implement regulatory changes to modify certain elements of the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The rulemaking is subject to a 39-day comment period, which closes April 29.

On April 17, the National Wildlife Federation submitted a request to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler calling the rulemaking “highly controversial” and “complex and highly technical” and stating “the current comment period of 39 days in wholly inadequate for the public to meaningfully assess and weigh in on this proposal.”

The following day, the American Petroleum Institute submitted a similar request to the EPA, calling the rulemaking “broad and complex” and asking the EPA to extend the comment period for an additional 30 days. “In past rulemakings of this magnitude, it has been customary to allow a 60-day comment period,” said the API in its letter. “We believe it is more important for the EPA to receive quality feedback enabled through a 60-day comment period rather than a shorter rushed process.”

The EPA issued its response on April 24, denying the requests and saying the agency believes that the current 39-day comment period is appropriate. “The regulatory modifications detailed in this proposal are necessary to finalize by the start of the summer driving season on June 1 and extending the comment period would hinder the agency’s ability to make a decision in a timely manner,” the EPA wrote in its response.

As of April 28, more than 27,000 public comments had been filed on the proposal.

Full copies of the requests issued by NWF and API, along with a copy of the EPA’s response, can be downloaded from the EPA website