JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted 6-2 today to prohibit the Department of Agriculture from making changes allowing the sale of E15 fuel in the state of Missouri.
E15 fuel consists of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent petroleum, a 5 percent difference from the standard E10 fuel available in Missouri.
In a hearing that was extended from a Monday meeting that featured more than three hours of testimony, JCAR ruled the Department of Agriculture did not have the authority to permit the new fuel in the state and the change would have to be done legislatively.
“Really this was a separation of powers issue,” JCAR Chairman Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, says. “The statute does not allow the director [of agriculture] to make this change by administrative fiat.”
Schmitt went on to clarify that the change could take place legislatively and that the policy debates were “extremely informative,” and could potentially be part of legislative discussions in 2014.
“JCAR has a very limited role,” Schmitt says. “We don’t discuss policy. Our goal is to make sure administrative agencies don’t overstep their bounds. There is a legitimate debate to be had in the legislature about E15, but the way to make this change is not for some unelected bureaucrat to ram it through.”
Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, and Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, voted in favor of the new rule.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.