Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage issued an executive order directing all state agencies to buy gasoline blended with 5 percent or less ethanol when it’s comparably priced to higher blends.
The executive order also calls for the Office of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention within the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study regarding the human health effects of emissions produced by the combustion of ethanol containing gasoline and the effect of increasing ethanol blends on emissions, a move that the National Marine Manufacturers Association applauds.
State Rep. Beth O’Connor, also a Republican, has worked with retired mechanic Ralph Stevens to study what they say are ill effects due to ethanol for the last six years. Stevens has been active in the fuel industry since the 1990s, when he advocated for the ban of fuel additive MTBE, claiming it was contaminating groundwater. Later that was confirmed.
A letter O’Connor sent to LePage urging him to take action included written testimony that Stevens submitted to the Legislature outlining his concerns about ethanol.
“It’s important that with the increased use of ethanol-mixed gasoline that we understand the environmental and health risks associated with it,” LePage said in a prepared statement announcing the executive order, according to the Portland Press Herald. “This Executive Order will help identify data so we can make better informed decisions regarding the use of ethanol.”