Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst is pressing for legislation allowing use of E15 throughout the year in the face of delayed action from the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Speaking on this week’s Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, Ernst discussed her work pressuring the Biden Administration to take action against Mexico in response to its most recent decree banning GMO corn imports and the status of legislation to make year-round E15 ethanol available across the country. 

Ernst authored a letter to EPA on Feb. 9 with 30 other senators and representatives urging the administration to revoke the 1-psi volatility waiver for gasoline-ethanol blends in the United States. States have previously relied on temporary, annually issued emergency waivers to approve E15 ethanol blending during the summer months. 

Legislation that provides permanent access to  E15 nationwide is the goal, she explains. “We need some certainty out there for our corn growers as well as those ethanol producers.” 

She criticized the Biden administration for being “so anti-internal combustion engine.” 

“When you've got a guy at the top that is saying ‘electric vehicle, electric vehicle,’ it makes it very difficult,” Ernst said.  

Ethanol advocates have forged partnerships with corporate petroleum companies, biofuels proponents and bipartisan lawmakers. Ernst sponsored the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act in the fall of 2022 with endorsements from the American Petroleum Institute, Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America and National Association of Truck Stop Operators, among others. However, the legislation did not move forward before the end of the 117th Congress. 

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“We have a ready-made solution right now, and we know the internal combustion engine is going to be around for a very long time,” Ernst said. “Let's work with petroleum folks to make sure that we get E15 out there, and we get it year-round.” 

Brian Jennings with the American Coalition for Ethanol, Kathy Bergren from the National Corn Growers Association and Kurt Kovarik with Clean Fuels Alliance also join the show to discuss the biofuels industry and the newest actions regarding Mexico’s corn imports.. 

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