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CountryMark says bill would provide clarity, urges Governor Holcomb to sign it

Some ethanol groups in Indiana are seeking to stop Indiana Senate Bill 303, but CountryMark President and CEO Matt Smorch is urging Governor Eric Holcomb to sign the bill.

He says the bill would provide clarity by updating the definition of gasohol, allowing E15 to qualify for a gasoline vapor pressure waiver.

“CountryMark has been working this for about three years where we can get some clarity on the definition of gasohol that’s in the state statute so that we can sell more ethanol at our terminals,” he says. “We’ve been a proponent of ethanol blending and we want to be able to sell E15, a 15 percent ethanol blend, at our wholesale terminals. This bill will give us the clarity to be able to do that and be in compliance with the state statue.”

Smorch tells Brownfield a sticking point of the bill has been that it would require a label be added to fuel dispensers.  

“One of the compromises on this bill is to have a label that gives clarity to the consumer and is consistent to what the federal government already requires,: he says. “The label would bring to attention if you’re selling E15 at the pump to protect consumers with vehicles that are sensitive to certain fuels. A vast majority of people don’t have vehicles sensitive to higher ethanol blends and so we don’t believe it’s a deterrent for people buying E15 at a retail station.”

The label should not stop people from choosing ethanol, he says.

“That’s been the point of contention and the ethanol producers believe the label is going to deter people from buying E15,” he says. “In our experience we know that labeling is never a deterrent but if people have problems with their fuel that becomes a bigger deterrent and we’re trying to make sure people have the information they need to make the right purchase. That will give people more confidence in higher blends of ethanol and E15.”

The farmer-owned cooperative has been seeking this clarity for three years. Smorch says Senate Bill 303 would allow them to sell more ethanol and will also set the groundwork for keeping liquid fuels relevant and competitive in Indiana for years to come.

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Audio: Matt Smorch

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