ST. PAUL — Minnesota Democrats U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Angie Craig, along with Nebraska Republican Sen. Deb Fischer, are leading a renewed push in Congress to allow for the year-round sale of E15-blend gasoline after a recent court ruling jeopardizes the ethanol market.
In a Wednesday, July 14, news release announcing the newest piece of legislation, Klobuchar said wider availability of E15 in recent years has been “good for drivers, farmers, and the environment,” and helps to “diversify our fuel supply and invest in affordable, environmentally-friendly solutions for consumers.”
Allowing the year-round sale of E15, or gasoline which contains 15% ethanol, would help struggling corn farmers and ethanol refineries — major drivers of the Midwest’s agricultural economy — who have borne the brunt of extreme weather events, a tariff war and a lagging farm economy in the past several years.
But a recent ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia jeopardizes the market, overturning year-round E15 sales. It’s now up to Congress to act in order to allow year-round sales to continue.
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., another major proponent of year-round E15, said in Wednesday’s statement that she was disappointed in the appeals court ruling, calling it “a major blow to Minnesota’s farm economy, where ethanol made from corn creates an estimated $6.7 billion in economic output.”
Along with Klobuchar, Smith and Craig, support behind year-round E15 sales has been building for years, with the Upper Midwest’s U.S. Senators John Thune, R-SD, Mike Rounds, R-SD and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. being major proponents, among others.