Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley recently said he’s encouraged the Environmental Protection Agency is siding with the ethanol industry in a case that goes before the Supreme Court later this month.
The industry and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals say the EPA can only grant ethanol waivers to oil refiners who got them continuously in prior years. Grassley says the announcement provides biofuel producers and Iowa farmers certainty regarding the use of ethanol waivers. Refiners HollyFrontier and CVR Energy argue Congress intended exemptions should be available for application “at any time.”
Grassley – who helped write the Renewable Fuel Standard – is leaving it up to the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret it, but adds:
“I am emboldened by, first of all, a Republican EPA person saying he was going to abide by the 10th Circuit, and then, when it came to a new administration, they were going to defend it before the Supreme Court,” said Grassley.
The ‘gap year’ waivers case testing statutory intent comes before the high court on April 27.
In the meantime, Grassley isn’t satisfied and says there’s more work to be done on the ethanol front. He says President Joe Biden needs to add ethanol vehicles into any infrastructure plan, not just electric as half of new sales by 2025.
“And then, all cars by 2035, and then, at 2035, you wouldn’t have any ethanol industry,” said Grassley. “Number two, would be, we ought to learn a lesson from the freeze in Texas, when you can’t get electricity. What are you going to do when you can’t charge your car? You going to sit in a snow bank, after the battery runs down?”
Grassley, a longtime ethanol backer, says the biofuel industry has proven that ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions from motor fuels by almost half.