The regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency was in Iowa Friday where he announced that gasoline with 15 percent ethanol will be sold year-round.
State officials welcomed the move at the grand opening celebration of an ethanol plant in western Iowa.
Speaking at the Elite Octane ethanol plant in Atlantic, Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford said the EPA met President Trump’s June 1 deadline to lift the ban on summer sales of E15 gasoline.
“And this opportunity is critical as the renewable fuels life cycle supports agribusiness producers and the vitality of rural community economies,” Gulliford said.
Consumers and farmers will benefit from year-round sales, he said.
“For consumers this rule provides an opportunity for a better price at the pump and a very productive product again,” Gulliford said. “And for farmers, we believe that it will eventually lead to the expanding markets for your corn and your crops.”
Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig was among Iowa’s state officials who cheered the news.
“Consumers pay less, we benefit the environment, the renewable fuels industry can expand, farmers sell more grain,” Naig said. “That’s win, win, win, win, and that’s something we can celebrate.”
But not everyone celebrates this move. The National Wildlife Federation’s president and CEO Collin O’Mara said in a statement that boosting ethanol production will threaten wildlife habitat, clean air and drinking water.
“Instead of undermining public health protections, the White House should focus on using the EPA’s upcoming rewrite of the ethanol mandate to promote cleaner, more sustainable fuels that support the rural economy while also protecting our air, drinking water, and wildlife habitat,” O’Mara said.
Asked by reporters about the potential that this will draw legal challenges, Gulliford said it’s possible they’ll face some.
“But we try and craft a rule that we believe will stand up to those,” Gulliford said.