Lawsuit seeks to block E15

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association and several other groups today filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging an Oct. 13 decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to partially approve E15 for a subset of on-highway motor vehicles.

The NMMA is joining the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers in a newly formed coalition called the Engine Products Group

“NMMA regrets having to pursue litigation on this matter, but it is clear that EPA has not fulfilled its statutory obligations to ensure the safe introduction of E15,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “Consequently, we and our industry partners have determined that it is necessary to seek relief in the courts in order to protect our manufacturers and our consumers.”

“Throughout this process, NMMA has strongly and consistently urged full scientific testing on marine engines and equipment, as required by law, and the rational evaluation of policy mechanisms to protect consumers from misfueling and product failures associated with incompatible fuels, and regulatory actions to ensure that compatible fuels remain available and affordable,” Dammrich said. “EPA has failed in each regard and approved E15 in contravention of its clear statutory requirements.”

The EPA did not immediately return calls this morning seeking comment.

The EPA’s Oct. 13 decision is based on a petition submitted by the pro-ethanol organization Growth Energy and 54 ethanol producers.

The NMMA and the other members of the Engine Products Group are not the first to file suit to challenge the EPA’s partial waiver on E15. The American Petroleum Institute and several food industry groups, such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Meat Association, filed a similar petition with the court last month.

Mat Dunn, the NMMA’s legislative director, said other petitions could be filed before the Jan. 3 deadline.

The EPA’s decision granted a partial waiver approving the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol for 2007 model year and newer passenger cars and light trucks. Older-model cars and marine engines were among those excluded from the decision, but industry experts fear that it will cause confusion among consumers.

The EPA’s decision also called for a label so that consumers can clearly distinguish E15 from other gasoline.

Last week, a group of 24 organizations, including those representing the marine industry, asked the EPA to allow an additional 60 days for public comment on proposed regulations designed to prevent misfueling with E15. The deadline is currently Jan. 3.

“We’re going to continue to pursue both tracks,” Dunn told Soundings Trade Only, adding that there’s no way to know how long the legal action will take.

“We would hope that the court would move fairly expeditiously in our challenge and that EPA would agree to a rapid schedule so that we could move this through the pipeline as quickly as possible,” he said. “We hope that the legal challenge will be resolved prior to E15 coming into the market. We think, in general, we have a little bit of time before we start seeing E15 at the pump, which is why we’re going ahead with this legal challenge now.”

However, he added, the legal challenge does not prevent the EPA from moving forward with its final rule.

Today’s petition specifically asks that the EPA’s decision be remanded back to the agency. It also requests judicial oversight and review over whether EPA’s “partial waiver” approval for E15 fuels violates federal Clean Air Act provisions that limit the circumstances under which the EPA can approve applications for new fuels and fuel additives.

The petition challenges the EPA’s authority to grant a partial waiver for three reasons:

  • The Clean Air Act does not authorize the EPA to issue “partial waiver” decisions.
  • The EPA’s own statute, which Congress passed in 2007, says fuels that could cause any failures can’t be approved for the market. E15 has been shown to adversely affect engines in non-road products and later-model-year vehicles, cause emission failures and increase air pollution because of misfueling. Further, administrative records fail to demonstrate that even new model-year motor vehicles (other than “flexible fuel vehicles”) would not be damaged and fail when run on E15.
  • The testing upon which EPA made its decision was placed in the administrative record too late to permit meaningful comment or scrutiny from concerned groups and stakeholders.

Click here for group’s petition on E15.


18 comments on “Lawsuit seeks to block E15

  1. Sandy Daugherty

    This IS important.  Who do we write if our Congressional representatives are already on board, or just totally useless?

  2. Marilyn

    Kudos to Thom and the NMMA for standing strong on this issue.  Ethanol is just another pork subsidy and we need to look at the ramifications of taxpayer supported aid to the sugar cane industry, which comes back to mechanical costs and issues for the same taxpayer!  As usual, we pay double-time!

  3. boatman

    Ethenol at any percent is a blight to the marine industry , why sell a product that breaks down in 30 days to consumers that do not use their boats for several months?  Bassically the gasoline  industry is destroying equipment with hydrotopic products. A neat byroduct is black mold growing around all  fuel vents and plastic tanks that contain this lovely product that the gasoline  industry has been shoving  down our fuel necks .

  4. chance

    I think the auto industry needs to allow this to move forward. As soon as all the consumers with damaged engines call them they should have the number for the EPA handy. Let the consumers start calling EPA and this kind of know nothing about engine technology policy will stop quickly. The EPA has pulling this knid of crap for to long. Ethanol cost more per gallon to produce then they can sell it for. Sounds like the perfect government program to me?

  5. cledus

    Brilliant goverment plan, reduce end emissions by increasing consumption! Thereby we’re moving backwards not forwards. 

  6. notamuslim210

    More dilution = less MPG. Go ahead and try it yourself if you don’t yet understand. Get a tank full of real gas without ethanol and drive until you hit empty and mark the range. When you fill up use E10 and check the range when you fill up again compare the ranges you will see it is a lot shorter drive on a tank of diluted fuel. It happens every time it is not a fluke there is less energy in alcohol than there is in gasoline and that is the end of it. If your car has to run on e85 that 40 MPG ford, honda, chevy, or whatever of yours is going to get closer to 32. There is no trick to it, it is straight math you get less from less. The more alcohol you pour into the mix, the less power the fuel has, so the more alcohol you add the more fill ups you need to go the same distance. It works out to another gas tax.
    It has been proven that growing corn for fuel is a no gain proposition. Instead of freeing up our economy from foreign oil as stated in the goal, the acreage that formerly produced exports in the form of edible foodstuffs will now produce just enough fuel grade alcohol to cover the cost of the man hours and cultivation machine time needed to grow it. The end state is we export less and import about the same. Ethanol produces no gain at all to our security.
    This is just another hidden tax that will destroy many fully functioning engines costing owners without any benefit to the public at all. I hated the Regan 55 mph speed limit but at least it produced gas savings. That one was also predictable by reducing drag on long haul vehicles they needed less fuel to the tune of millions of gallons per month. The policy of banning idling trucks at truck stops and the introduction of service embilicals to provide environmental controls and power to the parked trucks has similarly saved fuel. There are real things that can be done to increase our fuel efficiency, and they should be done, but this is just an expensive waste of our time, money and engines.

  7. B Jerry Pierce

    Read: the “Al Gore Hoax” or Gore admits he was wrong about Ethanol subsidies, Not Good Policy @ Reuters. Where he explains, his support was to inhance his possibility of his presential ambitions & how it has run the cost of most foods up,up,up, increasing the percentage of poverty worldwide. My step-daughter is an accountant for a bulk-hauler & convenience store owners of gas who says there is no control over the percentage of ethanol in the gas you buy. That in their checks, since now the ethanol is more expensive than gasoline, that they may find double the advertised amount. So ethanol is another “Rip-Off ” by our governing theives that continue to take the monies that the lobbist give them, to keep it going, for their own greed.

  8. Steve Crane

    We need names of these no common sense EPA politicians. We need to flood them with emails about the E-15 product they are forcing on us. E 10 has already cost myself and many friend a lot in repairs on all types of equipment not just marine engines.

  9. Tom Brown

    Our Congress is not on board. Did anyone notice the huge ethanol subsidies tucked in the tax cut extentions?
    Our government has a vested interest in making ethanol the fuel of the land.

  10. Philip

    Marilyn and Members,
    This is much larger then an emission scheme.  This is all based and as the article reads pushed by the corn growers.  The very massive farming conglomerates (ADM comes to mind) that you are subsidizing every day with your tax dollars as well as just about every dollar you spend on food in the USA.
    The Corn Growers started “protecting American farmers” by getting subsidies to make sure that regardless of how much you buy there will always be a floor to the price of corn.  So they grow it regardless of the consumption, and there are piles of corn that rot every year.  What to do with all of this free corn?  They created High Fructose Corn Syrup, the proven carcinogen “sweetener” that is in just about all of your food.
    These corn manufacturers could not compete with the price of imported sugar so they needed a tariff on the importation of sugar.  They got this as well. So now they have the ability to poison the public with HFCS because it is artificially cheaper then real sugar. Now comes the Ethanol option subsidized “by you” corn is the catalyst “pun intended” of this push on our government.  This is not the same process as using sugar, like in South America.  This is even less efficient, and is being paid for by you the tax payers.
    So to conclude; Because of the corn manufacturers you are 1) Paying a Subsidy on Corn; 2) Paying artificially high prices on sugar 3) Paying with your health do to High Fructose Corn Syrup; 4) Paying at the pump because ethanol costs more to produce then gasoline; and 5) Paying with efficiency because ethanol is less efficient to burn then gasoline.
    I am all for cutting emissions and using alternative energy sources.  This is not a step forward.  This is the ultimate in disgusting politics.

  11. Robert

    Try to name a program that our government instituted that has been successful and saved the tax payers money…..difficult isn’t it ???  I work in a marine store and have seen first hand the effects of E-10 on fuel lines, carbs, plugs and tanks. Going to E-15 will be even more costly to the marine industry. Similiar to our insane health care fiasco the government (EPA) is out of their league in addressing this problem.  Another “out of pocket” expense for ya’ll

  12. AnonymousBob

    Let’s not forget that these people keep getting elected, which means voter “education” begins with us as we tell our friends and neighbors about the shenanigans being played by the corn industry. Ethanol is not only creating havoc in the Marine industry, it’s hurting all internal combustion engines like lawnmowers, weed whackers, and more. The other facts that ethanol is more expensive to produce and reduces the fuel efficiency of vehicles are the real ammunition we have to combat this. Now that the engine manufacturing group has filed suit may actually (I hope) wake up some people. Our industry has scientific and real evidence about the harmful effects of ethanol so we need to keep pushing against this E15 crap!!!
    Call, email, and fax all of your representatives about this!!

  13. Ed Fay

    FIRST – Thank you NMMA and Detroit AutoMakers (Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) for decisively filing suit and joining together against the EPA. 
    SECOND – Many comments on this board are asking – ?What further ACTION does the NMMA need of its Marine Dealers?
    We request more input back on that subject.  Does this now only play out in the courts?  Does this need to play out in the court of public opinion with another kind of campaign? 
    In an effort to find out what action Fays Marina should further take beyond the past letter to Senators and Congressmen, Fays researched Google with the keywords “take action lawsuit e15” but again found no clear direction.  So, while this subject is hot on peoples minds, Marine Dealers are asking of the NMMA, MRAA, and Trade Publications like our valuable resource “Trade Only” - to make clear what further action we dealers and our customer base can support to prevent this unlawful action by the EPA, with long-term harm to our customers, our industry.

  14. Barbara Rench

    My personal efforts to stop the march of ethanol through Wisconsin fuel ports has been fueled by extreme and dangerous ethanol based damage to  our 1941 Hatteras. Repairs included the entire replacement of both fiberglass fuel tanks which were ethanol-damaged beyond repair. Fuel related problems on board a boat are significant safety issues: we were lucky to have a mechanic who recognized the problem before it became even worse than it was.

  15. Fuel-Testers MLR Solutions

    Rather than waste anymore time debating, testing and submitting formal legal actions against E15 and other upcoming increases in ethanol use (RFS mandates, quotas, E20, etc.), those aware and concerned about the engine damage, inconvenience and unnecessary expenses ethanol-blends of gas will cause should INSTEAD PETITION to protect your right to NON-ETHANOL (ethanol-free) fuel at the gas pumps.  Petition for “Ethanol-Free Fuel Choice” can be found at:
    I’m confident that if this is accomplished (ethanol-free gas being offered “as a consumer choice” in every U.S. town), the dramatic drop in sale of E10 will result in it eventually being phased-out of the market based on decreasing volume sold.  Even those who have not experienced engine damage and/or poor performance from E10 (often sold over-blended or contaminated with water), will chose ethanol-free gas due to the dramatic drop in mpg/fuel efficiency of ethanol in gas. Note: It is solely due to lack of education and awareness that those companies supporting ethanol (based on profit motives) have gone this far and so blatantly mis-guided the EPA’s decisions. It’s time for consumers and engine manufacturers to join together to put a stop to this nonsense once and for all.  Thanks for your continued support. Fuel-Testers/MLR Solutions Company

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