The National Marine Manufacturers Association submitted nearly 40 pages of comments Monday to the Environmental Protection Agency, opposing a waiver that would allow ethanol blends up to 15 percent.
The waiver request was submitted by Growth Energy, a pro-ethanol lobby. The NMMA has long contended that higher ethanol blends could lead to serious performance, durability and emissions problems in recreational marine engines and boats and that more testing is necessary before any increase in the ethanol blend level can be permitted.
In its comments, the NMMA urged the EPA to deny the waiver petition in its entirety, including the issuance of a "partial waiver" that would attempt to create a dual fuel supply allowing the sale of E15 for newer motor vehicles.
"NMMA's comments raise substantial concerns with E15 and demonstrate that there is insufficient information on the impacts of E15 on marine engines and fuel systems," NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. "It is clear that EPA lacks the scientific and technical information required by law to approve the ethanol industry's request to allow E15 and we strongly urge EPA to deny the waiver petition."
In addition to these comments, the NMMA submitted comments as part of the Alliance from Safe Alternative Fuels Environment (AllSAFE), a group of engine manufacturers and other groups focused on biofuels. The NMMA also joined a coalition of business organizations, environmental groups, and consumer groups urging the Senate Appropriations Committee and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to instruct Congress not to interfere in the blend wall issue.
As a result of the NMMA's efforts, with support from the larger boating community, more than 30,000 marine industry employees, boaters and others submitted comments to EPA urging the agency to deny the waiver. The public comment period ended Monday.
The NMMA says it will continue its strong advocacy on ethanol as the recent House-passed climate change bill moves through the Senate and faces attempts by legislators from farm states to include measures to increase the blend limit.
EPA has until Dec. 1 to grant or deny Growth Energy's waiver petition.