The Wall Street Journal editorial board is questioning the legality and rationality of President Trump’s recent order to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) change long-standing Clean Air Act rules to accommodate the year-round sale of E15 fuel (gasoline blended to contain 15-percent ethanol).
announced in the heart of corn country, this “lousy new gift to ethanol” rests on shaky legal ground and flops as an attempt to fix the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Read our key takeaways below:
EPA doesn’t have legal authority to do this
“Some 20 Senators from both parties pointed out in a letter last week that the agency doesn’t have the legal authority to waive the Clean Air Act’s summer standards … EPA said in 2011 that it doesn’t believe it has the authority to allow year-round sales of E15, and that is not remembered as an era of agency restraint. If the standards are too strict, then Congress should change them.”
Demand for E15 is lacking — even in Iowa. Weak reforms won’t fix the RFS.
“… even Iowa sells four times the amount of E0—no ethanol—as it does E15 and E85 combined.”
In doing a “favor for the fuel made with corn and your tax dollars,” the President ignores the needs of consumers — including those in Iowa, who are demanding more ethanol-free fuel than all flex-fuels together. Close to 75 percent of cars on the road today are not warrantied to run on E15. The RFS is already forcing fuels onto consumers that many can’t use, and this new move to push E15 sales only makes things worse.
Bad policy on top of bad policy
This drama surrounding E15 and EPA’s power overstep exists only because there is a federal ethanol mandate that isn’t working. We can’t lose sight of that.
“[T]he new policy is so clearly a sop to farmers hit hard by Mr. Trump’s tariff policy. As ever, one bad policy inevitably leads to another.”
Indeed. You can read the full editorial in The Wall Street Journal here.