Ethanol leaders urge Noem to continue voicing support for E30

By Erin Voegele | December 16, 2019

A group of five ethanol, agriculture and clean air supporters sent a letter to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Dec. 10 commending her for remarks she made in support of E30 during Glacial Lakes Energy LLC’s recent annual meeting.

The letter, signed by Jim Seurer, CEO of Glacial Lakes Energy; Ron Alverson, board member of Dakota Ethanol LLC; Doug Sombke, president of South Dakota Farmers Union; Pam Miller, board chair and director of industry and investor relations at Siouxland Ethanol LLC; and David VanderGriend, CEO of ICM Inc., thanks Noem for her leadership role in calling for E30 to be used in legacy vehicles, including the South Dakota state fleet.

“Ever since you announced E30 Day in February of this year on the steps of the State Capitol, you have been leading the charge at the state level to overturn EPA’s illegal interpretation of the Section 2119(f) ‘substantially similar’ provision,” said the group in the letter.

The letter notes Noem first announced her commitment to fuel South Dakota’s legacy vehicles with E30 at Glacial Lakes Energy Mina’s 10-year anniversary open house. “Your announcement was a bold move that gave the issue much-needed statewide attention and you fulfilled your commitment when you issued your official E30 Day proclamation on February 19, 2019 of this year,” the group continued.

The letter, however, states that recent media accounts of Noem’s E30 remarks have caused confusion—an issue the group asks her to help clear up. The letter cites a Watertown Public Opinion piece that claims “Noem said the state has begun to embrace [E30] by only purchasing flex fuel vehicles.”  

The letter stresses that the importance of the successful Glacial Lakes E30 Challenge is that multiple studies show E30 blends work well in all standard light-duty vehicles on the road today, and that flex fuel vehicles are not required.

“It is critical to convey that the more than 260 million cars and trucks on the road today are ready to use 100 RON E30 high octane low carbon fuels—we don’t have to wait 15-20 years for automakers to resume manufacture of FFVs (which EPA policies have disincentivized) and for the fleet to turn over,” the group wrote.

“Unless EPA reverses course and recognizes that E30 blends can be legally sold and used in legacy vehicles, our companies and other E30 supporters will challenge EPA’s indefensible misinterpretation in the courts,” they continued. “We expect that challenge will be filed in the first quarter of next year when EPA finalizes the pending SAFE Rule unless they accept our comments to their proposed rule.”

The letter notes Noem has been invited to participate in the Clean Fuels Thought Leaders Forum on Feb. 6, the day before the National Governors’ Winter Meeting. “Your participation will help to legitimize and elevate the critically important E30 Clean Octane issue at the same time as President Trump and the courts are being asked to consider alternative pathways to fulfill RFS targets without having to wait for Congress to break the legislative logjam,” the group wrote, urging her to participate in the event.

“If EPA is finally made to do its job and replace gasoline aromatics with high octane, low carbon ethanol, America’s farms will be unleashed to protect America’s cities, especially our children,” the group wrote. “There will be many winners, including farmers and the rural economy.”

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from the Safe Gasoline Campaign website. https://www.safegasolinecampaign.org/safe-gasoline-campaign/ethanol-industry-leaders-to-governor-noem-e30-ready-for-prime-time/