Trump E15 Proposal Illegal, Will Harm Wildlife

EPA’s proposed move — not allowed under Clean Air Act — would exacerbate habitat destruction, water pollution, air pollution, and climate change

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump Administration’s move to defy Clean Air Act protections to boost ethanol production with year-round E15 gasoline will endanger wildlife and harm drinking water, the National Wildlife Federation said in comments submitted along with the Clean Air Task Force, Earthjustice, and Sierra Club to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump Administration’s move flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that current biofuels policy is harming wildlife habitat, drinking water, and the climate. The comments were submitted yesterday, the last day for public comment on the proposal, despite a request from the National Wildlife Federation to expand the uncharacteristically short comment period of only 39 days.

“The Trump Administration’s proposal to increase summer ethanol usage is as irresponsible as it is illegal — and would accelerate the destruction of wildlife habitat and pollution of our air, waterways and drinking water,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This latest overreach underscores the urgent need for Congress to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard to establish rational biofuels policy that promotes more sustainable fuels without adversely impacting public health and our natural resources.”

The Trump Administration wants to expand the sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15)above the current level of 10 percent ethanol (E10), by allowing the sale of the higher blend during the summer months. E15 gasoline is restricted during the summer in most of the United States to reduce smog to protect the health of people — especially children, the elderly, and people with health ailments.

For decades, the EPA has affirmed that the Clean Air Act does not allow administrative expansion to E15. EPA administrators appointed by both Republican and Democratic presidents have concluded that an act of Congress is needed to grant a waiver of Clean Air Act statute for ethanol blends greater than 10 percent, yet Congress has pointedly refused to provide one.  

Learn more at  Follow us: @EcoFuelNWF

Read NWF’s primer on the topic: “Fueling Destruction: The Unintended Consequences of the Renewable Fuel Standard on Land, Water, and Wildlife.”

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