Vilsack Confident For E15 This Summer, Criticizes Supreme Court on CA Prop 12

Secretary Tom Vilsack told Senate Ag members he’s confident the EPA will approve an E15 waiver this summer ahead of the agency’s permanent green light for year-round sales starting next year.

Iowa’s Joni Ernst told Vilsack her state’s ethanol and corn producers and fuel retailers are in the dark on E15 sales this summer after the EPA delayed until next year its permanent fix. But Vilsack responded, the uncertainty could soon end. Vilsack said, “I think it’s consistent with the last two years when they issued a waiver. I could be wrong about this, Senator. I thought it was in the April timeframe. But, whenever it was done last year, I’m sure that they will add the resources and the data necessary to make the decision and have this decision stick.”

Eight Midwest governors petitioned the EPA for permanent year-round E15 sales, but two threatened a lawsuit after the agency dragged out final approval hundreds of days past its statutory deadline.

Separately, Vilsack responded to senators’ concern over California’s Proposition 12 which restricts sales in the state of products from sows, hens, and calves raised in extreme confinement even out of state. The Supreme Court sided with California in a challenge. Vilsack said, “I totally understand why California would want to regulate what happens in the four corners of their state, but I don’t think the Supreme Court when it decided that pork producers had a choice to participate in the California market or not, understood the pork market. When you’re dealing with 12 percent of the pork market in one state, there is not a choice between doing business in California and not in California.”

Vilsack argued someone must provide national “consistency and clarity,” or 50 different states could have 50 different standards. But Vilsack cautioned lawmakers that it won’t be easy to craft a uniform standard.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau Washington