For the Record: Battle over E15 coming to a head in Congress

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The political and public relations fight over the introduction of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol continued into the fall in Washington, D.C.

In October, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., introduced H.R. 3199, legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to seek an independent scientific analysis of the effects of E15 on vehicles and engines.

The bill would require the analysis to include an evaluation of short- and long-term environmental safety and performance effects on road and non-road engines.

Also in October, the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy released the results of two studies on the effects of using E15 in marine engines, and the reports showed significant problems with outboard, sterndrive and inboard engines, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported.

Emissions and durability testing compared E15 fuel and fuel containing zero percent ethanol and examined exhaust emissions, exhaust gas temperature, torque, power, barometric pressure, air temperature and fuel flow. Specifically, the report showed degraded emissions performance outside engine certification limits and increased fuel consumption on the engines using E15 fuel.

In November, David Hilbert, a thermodynamic development engineer for Mercury Marine, testified before a congressional subcommittee on behalf of the NMMA that Mercury’s testing showed significant problems with outboard engines, including severe damage to engine components and an increase in exhaust emissions, reinforcing the recreational boating industry’s concern that E15 is not a suitable fuel for marine engines.

The bill now awaits action from the House Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

J&D Acquisitions offers floorplan financing

J&D Acquisitions, parent company of the Larson, Striper, Triumph, Marquis and Carver boat companies, is implementing a $25 million boat dealer floorplan financial program to support its existing and prospective dealers.

J&D will either put up letters of credit to support a dealer’s obligations to traditional floorplan companies or local banks or J&D will make direct 100 percent floorplan financing loans available to dealers that don’t qualify for floorplan financing.

One of the first dealers in the program was Breakwater Marine, the largest Larson dealer in the world. It has four locations in the United States and Canada.

Company founders leave large legacies

Erich Bruckmann, a founding partner of C&C Yachts, died Oct. 28. He was 81.

He was born in Germany and left the country in 1956 to start a new life. Within a year of arriving in Canada, he began what would be a lifelong career as a boatbuilder. He was at the forefront of the yachting industry in the 1960s and ’70s as one of the founding partners of C&C Yachts.

Sheldon Lance, who founded the Waterford, Conn.-based marine retail business Defender Industries and ran the company for 75 years, died Oct. 13 at the age of 93.

Lance was a pioneer in the mail-order business, and then in Internet sales worldwide. The business he founded is the longest-living marine outfitting company in the United States with a global following.

Defender is still owned by Lance’s five children and is run by his son, Stephan.

KVH, Pelican plan expansion in Asia

Two marine industry manufacturers operating in different segments established bases in the Far East.

KVH Industries in late October officially opened its new Asia-Pacific headquarters, KVH Industries Pte Ltd., in Singapore.

The new facility features a state-of-the-art demo and training lab where KVH partners and customers can observe the company’s TracPhone, TracVision and CommBox products.

California-based Pelican Products Inc., a maker of high-protective cases and portable LED lights for the industry, opened a sales office in Seoul, South Korea, and appointed Sang-Hee Chon as country manager.

Chon will be responsible for expanding Pelican’s sales in areas that include the aerospace/defense, military, industrial and specialty consumer markets.

“Boasting the 13th-largest economy in the world, South Korea offers unlimited opportunities for progress,” says Scott Ermeti, vice president of international business for Pelican Products.

This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue.

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