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Wheeler plants E15 caveat during confirmation hearing

A U.S. Senator is concerned Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has given himself an out if the rulemaking for year-round E15 isn’t finished in time for the summer driving season.

Minnesota Democrat Tina Smith says during his confirmation hearing Wednesday, Wheeler was not clear on how the government shutdown might affect the process of removing RVP restrictions by June first.

“He did seem to be giving himself an out, and also wasn’t really able to be clear about what the specific impact of the shutdown was on the rule-making. So it was hard to know what the impact is going to be.”

When questioned by members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about whether he believes EPA can finalize the rule permitting the year-round sale of E15 before the summer driving season starts, Wheeler said, “As of today, yes.”  But he followed that with a caveat that the agency is unable to work on the rule during the government shutdown.

Smith tells Brownfield EPA should’ve gotten to work on the rule-making sooner.

“And of course, the solution to this problem is to end this shutdown right away so that the folks at the agency can get back to work.”

Wheeler confirmed EPA originally planned to issue the E15 proposal in February, adding it will get done before the summer driving season “provided the shutdown ends in a reasonable time.”

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