E15 and E85 Ethanol News: State Legislative Update, May 23, 2013

Here’s an update on recent actions in several U.S. state legislatures on pending laws that would affect the use and market acceptance of ethanol/gasoline blends such as E15 and E85. Although these legislative actions have not all been successful, most of them have had the goal of discouraging or preventing the use of ethanol in the affected states, and mirror some of the efforts being pursued by Republicans in the U.S. Congress to similarly block increased blending of ethanol in the nation’s gasoline supply. (I have recently summarized these Congressional efforts in a post in my Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuels blog.)

E15 Developments in the States 

Mixed progress for anti-ethanol bills in the Maine legislature
. As previously reported in the blog, there have been four bills on fuel ethanol introduced in the Maine legislature this year. 

  • One of these, LD 453, which could potentially ban the sale of gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol, has now been enacted. The bill was approved by the legislature on May 1 and signed by the governor on May 7, but this bill would only take effect if at least two other New England states adopted similar prohibitions.
  • In other action, on May 8, the Maine House of Representatives approved by a 109-32 vote a bill (LD 115) that would ban the sale of corn-based ethanol in gasoline in the state. On May 15, the State Senate rejected LD 115 by a 21-14 vote, apparently killing the bill in this legislative session, although it has recently been reported that the bill has been revived through a “motion to reconsider”, still with uncertain prospects for passage. Even if passed, this bill would also only take effect upon similar action by at least two other New England states.
  • The House also passed LD 105, that would allow sale of gasoline with 5% ethanol, and a nonbinding resolution urging the federal government not to require the sale of E15 gasoline blends, but LD 105 has also been killed in the State Senate, in a vote on May 16.

New Hampshire anti-ethanol bill dies in State Senate. The State Senate in New Hampshire has killed a bill, HB362, that would have placed a total ban on the blending of ethanol in gasoline in the state. The Senate’s action to designate the bill “Inexpedient to Legislate” effectively kills the bill for the current legislative session.

Bill to repeal Florida’s Renewable Fuel Standard still awaiting governor’s signatureAs previously reported, House Bill 4001, a bill that would repeal the requirement that gasoline sold in Florida be blended with ethanol, was approved by the state House of Representatives on April 12, and its companion bill Senate Bill 320 was passed by the Florida Senate on a 33-1 vote on April 24. The bill has gone to the governor, who has until June 4, 2013 to act on the bill. Industry groups are calling on Governor Rick Scott to veto the bill, and a leading Florida biofuels company, Algenol, has said that the enactment of this legislation may cause them to reconsider a major expansion it has planned in the state.

California legislator urges Congress to pass RFS Reform Act.  A Republican Assembly member in California, Kristin Olsen, has introduced a resolution (AJR 21) that would have the California legislature urge the U.S. Congress to pass H.R. 1462, the “RFS Reform Act of 2013”. As I’ve reported in my Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuels blog, H.R. 1462 would eliminate the mandate for corn-based ethanol in the Renewable Fuel Standard and would also prohibit ethanol blends in gasoline of greater than 10%. The prospects for AJR 21 in the California legislature are unclear, but even if passed, the resolution would have no binding effect on the U.S. Congress.

Minnesota legislation. As reported in an earlier blog post, legislation (H.F. 976) is moving through the Minnesota legislature that would alter the state’s biofuel and ethanol mandates. The most significant changes would broaden certain of the ethanol blending mandates to allow use of other advanced biofuels in such blends. Please see the earlier blog post for more details. The bill is now in conference committee to resolve differences between different versions.

Previous Biofuel Policy Watch posts on ethanol policy:

D. Glass Associates, Inc. is a consulting company specializing in government and regulatory support for renewable fuels and industrial biotechnology. David Glass, Ph.D. is a veteran of over thirty years in the biotechnology industry, with expertise in industrial biotechnology regulatory affairs, U.S. and international renewable fuels regulation, patents, technology licensing, and market and technology assessments. Dr. Glass also serves as director of regulatory affairs for Joule Unlimited Technologies, Inc. More information on D. Glass Associates’ government and regulatory consulting capabilities, and copies of some of Dr. Glass’s prior presentations on biofuels and biotechnology regulation, are available at www.slideshare.net/djglass99 and at www.dglassassociates.com. The views expressed in this blog are those of Dr. Glass and D. Glass Associates and do not represent the views of Joule Unlimited Technologies, Inc. or any other organization with which Dr. Glass is affiliated. Please visit our other blog, Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuels


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