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NMMA: EPA is keeping ethanol levels too high

The NMMA faulted the EPA for setting the volume of conventional biofuels.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced its proposed 2018 renewable volume obligations on Wednesday as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard program.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association faulted the agency for setting the volume of conventional biofuels at the maximum allowed under law — 15 billion gallons.

In a statement released Thursday, the NMMA said, “NMMA has maintained the need for the EPA to propose lower 2018 levels to ensure that the boating public remains safe on the water and continues to enjoy access to approved fuel blends. This announcement is ultimately disconcerting for the more than 88 million boaters and 35,000 businesses that make up the recreational boating and fishing industry.”

“We’re disappointed in the EPA’s 2018 RVO proposal, as the levels included are too high and continue to promote E-15 — proven to cause significant damage to marine engines — in the fuel supply,” NMMA federal and legal affairs vice president Nicole Vasilaros said.

“The proposal in its current form would deny the boating public choice at the pump while subjecting the industry to an increasing supply of a dangerous, prohibited fuel blend for their products. The expansion of E15 threatens access to safe fuels like E10, and without robust public education efforts puts consumers at further risk of misfueling. Higher RVOs also diminish the availability of E0, which many boaters demand. The Renewable Fuel Standard is a broken law that doesn’t reflect the market and consumer realities of today, making it more important than ever for Congress to fix the mandate.”

Conventional biofuel limits remain the same from last year, and the EPA used its waiver authority to reduce cellulosic mandated levels. This reduces the opportunity for advanced biofuels to come to market, while keeping corn-based ethanol as the main biofuel option, according to the NMMA, which supports ethanol fuel blends up to 10 percent and alternative fuel options such as biobutanol in consumer pumps.

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