Will the decision on E15 come down to votes in Iowa?

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I’ll go out on a limb here. As we get close to an expected decision by U.S. EPA this month to approve or deny increasing the ethanol content in gas from E10 (10 percent) to E15 (15 percent), we may witness common sense and safety concerns disregarded in the name of getting votes in states like Iowa!

Oh, no one in the White House or EPA is going to claim that, of course. But, strong rumors are EPA is leaning toward allowing E15 in 2007 or newer vehicles. So, I figure when the EPA announcement does come out, they could try to tell us: “E15 will reduce our dependence on foreign oil” -- there’s a crock! Or, “E15 is going to be better for the environment” – brain dead! Or, “But, we’ll ban using E15 in boats, lawn mowers, older cars and so on” – now that’s a stroke of regulatory genius if you want to create mass confusion!

But, this would be my favorite: “Scientific testing? We don’t need no stinking testing! We know best . . . how to get votes in corn country.” But, they’ll never say that - too much truth.
THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER, however. The decision hasn’t come down, yet. As an industry and as boaters, many of us sent comments and objections to EPA (I hope you did, too.) We’ve asked Congress to hold hearings on the dangers of E15 (I hope you contacted your senator and congressman.) And, industry leaders like Mathew Dunn, NMMA’s legislative director, have held multiple meetings with EPA.

“If the rumored decision prevails, it will do nothing but produce mass confusion in the market, and create problems for literally millions of Americans. It’s hard to believe anyone could want such a result," says Dunn.

So, if it’s a political decision to nail down corn votes as I contend, then it’s clearly time to make it known there can be political consequences to approving such a bad decision. It’s time to raise the issue in the White House. I think it’s fair to ask President Obama how he can expect any continued support if he sits back and allows his administration to directly hurt and endanger so many people.

If you agree, here’s what you can do right now. Go to www.followthescience.org and write an email to President Obama requesting that he urge EPA to thoroughly test all gasoline-powered engines, particularly marine engines, before ever allowing E15 into the marketplace. In addition, give your employees, and send your customers, the www.followthescience.org website and ask them to email the President, too.

Stopping E15 until we have genuine knowledge of its impact on gas engines can still get done. But, we must all get involved now, before it’s too late.

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