NMMA testifies against ethanol increase at EPA hearing

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Michael Lewan testified last week at the Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearing on a proposed change to renewable fuel standards that would increase the amount of ethanol blended into the overall fuel supply.

The EPA proposed in May to increase the amount of biofuels to be mixed into the gasoline supply, but at levels set below the Renewable Fuel Standard, the law that mandates the increases. The EPA has slowed the increase of ethanol in the overall fuel supply in previous years from the requirements set forth in the 2007 RFS, but continues to set increases the law requires.

The EPA’s newest proposal increases the need for higher blends of ethanol to record levels in 2017, pushing further past the E10 blend wall, according to critics of the proposal. The blend wall is the term used for the maximum amount of ethanol in fuel that all engines can tolerate — which is E10, or 10 percent ethanol.

Lewan argued that the EPA must lower the proposal to ensure that the boating public remains safe on the water and continues to enjoy access to approved fuel blends, according to the NMMA.

This was the only public hearing about the proposal, a forum that allows stakeholders to address the EPA directly. In addition to testifying, the NMMA will submit formal written comments to the agency in advance of a July 11 deadline.

The group is encouraging industry stakeholders to participate in the public comment period via Boating United.

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