Ernst: EPA’s proposed fuel dispenser labeling rule ‘better late than never’

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newly proposed rule to remove certain barriers to expanded sales of E15, including E15 fuel dispenser labeling and compatibility with underground storage tanks, is welcome action, according to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).

“On behalf of Iowa’s biofuel community, I’m glad to see EPA take this step; and, as the saying goes, ‘better late than never,’” said Sen. Ernst. “I will continue to be a champion for Iowa farmers and producers and work with the incoming administration to get this rule across the finish line.”

EPA currently requires fuel dispenser labels for gasoline-ethanol blends of greater than 10 volume percent ethanol and up to 15 volume percent ethanol (E15). The label was designed to alert consumers to the appropriate and lawful use of the fuel, according to a summary of the agency’s Jan. 19 proposed rule.

EPA proposes to either modify the E15 label or remove the label requirement entirely and is seeking comment on whether state and local governments may be preempted from requiring different labels on fuel dispensers, the summary says.

“To facilitate the proper storage of E15 in underground storage tank systems (USTs), EPA is proposing to modify the UST regulations to grant certain allowances for compatibility demonstration for storage of ethanol blends,” according to the Federal Register notice. “EPA is also proposing compatibility requirements for future UST installations or component replacements that would ensure compatibility with higher blends of ethanol.”

Comments are due by April 19, the EPA says.

“I’ve long been calling for EPA to take action to expand access to higher blends of biofuel, like E15, and to provide more choice at the pump,” Sen. Ernst said. “This proposed rule would help remove barriers to increase sales of E15 by addressing issues with the label at the pump and underground storage tanks.”

Earlier this month, Sen. Ernst also spoke with President Joe Biden’s expected EPA Administrator nominee, Michael Regan, about the issue and the need to continue expanding access to higher blends of biofuel, according to the senator’s office.