A request from several Midwest governors to sell E15 year-round in their home states is now before the White House Office of Management and Budget. The news comes as 24 House members introduced a bill to match Senate legislation on the subject.

Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Adrian Smith, R-Neb., were the lead sponsors of the legislation Thursday, giving the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022 identical language in both chambers. Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced legislation in the Senate Nov. 30.

The bill would remove summertime restrictions on the sales of higher ethanol blends and carries the support of a wide array of ag groups as well as the American Petroleum Institute.

API came on board with their support over concerns about the potential for the governors' petition to be approved, which would create a challenging supply situation for the nation’s oil companies. The organization was involved in talks with Fischer and the Renewable Fuels Association to avoid what it called “a boutique fuel market in the Midwest.”

According to OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, EPA submitted the petition for interagency review on Monday.  

Craig and Smith – as well as Fischer and Klobuchar in the Senate – have introduced similar legislation previously, but the addition of API to the coalition required tweaks to maintain their support.

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In a release, Smith said there is “no reason not to extend to E15 the same regulatory relief currently provided to E10." Craig echoed that thought and said she “look(s) forward to getting (the bill) over the finish line.” A bipartisan contingent of 22 members of Congress are cosponsoring the legislation in the House; Fischer, Klobuchar and 13 senators are behind the Senate bill.

Even with the backing of API and the renewable fuels industry, the bill could face an uphill battle getting consideration on a crowded lame duck session agenda. The deadline for action on the issue is more likely to be several months into 2023 to offer certainty to the relevant industries in advance of the potential implementation of the Midwest E15 petition.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said earlier this year he plans to have the consideration of the petition wrapped up in time for the 2023 summer driving season.

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