House hearing set on E15 impact

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The Environmental Protection Agency’s “flawed waivers allowing E15 amount to government bureaucrats issuing shortsighted regulations that negatively impact families and businesses across the country.”

That’s according to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who introduced legislation Feb. 14 with Sen. David Vitter, R-La., that would overturn the EPA waivers that allowed gasoline with 15 percent ethanol to be introduced into the fuel supply.

Several groups signed a letter of support for the legislation, including the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and the National Marine Manufacturers Administration. Geoff Moody, director of government relations for the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, hoped to have all of the signatures collected by today’s House Subcommittee on the Environment hearing, “Mid-level ethanol blends: Consumer and Technical Research Needs.”

“The higher blend of ethanol has been found to cause engine damage, reduce fuel efficiency and contribute to higher corn prices and rising food costs for American consumers,” Wicker states on his website.

The Wicker-Vitter bill would not only repeal previous waivers, it would also prohibit the EPA from granting future waivers for blends above 10 percent.

“Whether you drive a car, truck, boat or tractor, misfueling with E15 could result in engine failure, increased emissions and the voiding of warranty coverage,” said Vitter, who is on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “It is irresponsible for EPA to allow E15 without sufficient testing and technical analysis. I support an all-inclusive energy strategy, but experimenting before understanding the consequences and potential cost of using E15 is unfair to consumers.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who introduced legislation Feb. 15 to stop the EPA’s mandate for more cellulosic biofuel than exists in the marketplace, will also introduce a House bill that blocks the sale of E15 until extensive testing is done by the National Academy of Sciences.

The draft legislation calls for testing to occur on gasoline blends with a concentration of between 10 and as high as 20 percent ethanol.

MRAA legislative affairs director Larry Innis says he expects that bill to be brought before the House as soon as next week.

— Reagan Haynes

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