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Industry groups urge input against ethanol increase

Groups are encouraging stakeholders to weigh in on the EPA’s most recent proposal to increase ethanol levels in the fuel supply.

Boating and fishing industry groups are encouraging stakeholders to weigh in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent proposal to increase ethanol levels in the fuel supply.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are asking members and other affected parties to oppose the measures set forth by the EPA during the comment period, which ends July 27.

The agency proposed increasing the amount of ethanol in the overall fuel supply in May, although it lowered the amounts required by the Clean Air Act, angering both critics and supporters of ethanol.

The Department of Agriculture said it would inject $100 million in funding to put more ethanol at gas pumps.

The Renewable Fuel Standard has the amount of ethanol flatly increasing, despite a large, unanticipated drop in fuel demand, and critics say this will push blends to E15 and higher.

The EPA proposed the total amount of renewable fuel blending would be 15.93 billion gallons in 2014, 16.3 billion gallons in 2015 and 17.4 billion gallons in 2016 — more than 4 billion gallons a year lower than the amount Congress called for in the 2007 legislation. The statutory requirement for 2016 is 22.25 billion gallons.

In November 2013 the EPA first proposed to scale back the 2014 mandate to blend corn ethanol and more advanced biofuels into gasoline. However, the EPA subsequently withdrew that 2014 proposal after being met with opposition by the biofuels industry.

“As the blend wall creeps up, we’re concerned about the continued availability of E10, which we are required to use, and E0,” which has seen increasing use in the marine industry, NMMA legal and regulatory affairs director Nicole Vasilaros said after the initial announcement.

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