SD Farmers Union Applauds Governor Noem-Led Effort to Reduce Toxics in Gasoline
In a letter to President Trump calling for the reduction of toxics in gasoline, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem joined Minnesota Governor Tim Walz in urging the President to have Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforce existing law that would protect public health and potentially increase ethanol demand.
Walz and Noem are the Chair and Vice Chair of the Governors’ Biofuel Coalition, with Governor Noem taking over as Chair in February 2020. They cited a 30-year-old provision in the Clean Air Act Amendments requiring the U.S. EPA to reduce the aromatic compounds in gasoline. These compounds include known and suspected carcinogens such as benzene which are used to increase octane.
South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) President Doug Sombke said, “We applaud Governor Noem and her fellow Governors for looking beyond the daily battles of the Renewable Fuel Standard and recognizing ethanol’s true value is in higher blends. That value includes protecting public health and providing desperately needed new markets for our agricultural products.”
In their letter to the President, the Governors said, “One practical and cost-effective way to reduce aromatics is to use 30 per cent ethanol blends to reduce particulate matter and black carbon emissions by 45 per cent, and hydrocarbon pollution by more than 20 percent. “
SDFU and the Farmers Union Enterprises have led the effort to get EPA to do their job and enforce the laws that have been on the books for decades. “As the Governors state in their letter, the average gallon of gasoline contains 30% toxic compounds, and even more are formed when fuel is combusted and comes out of the tailpipe,” said Sombke. “Our research has shown these emissions are linked to everything from respiratory disease to neurological ailments and this must stop now.”
Sombke said they are in discussions with the Noem Administration to demonstrate E30 blends in state vehicles as Nebraska and other states are doing. Currently E30 is a popular fuel blend in Watertown SD through the E30 Challenge sponsored by Glacial Lakes Energy.
“We are hopeful the Safe Affordable Fuel Economy (SAFE) rule will be finalized in the very near future and may raise octane levels as SDFU and others have called for. In doing so it would open the door to these higher blends since it is illegal to raise octane by increasing these toxic levels,” said Sombke.
To read letter, click here. For more information on SAFE, visit https://www.safegasolinecampaign.org/.