Industry Questions Ethanol Hearing Witness List

Cindy Zimmerman

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment is holding a hearing today on “examining the science” of 15% ethanol in fuel, but the corn ethanol industry is questioning the list of witnesses, which appears to be somewhat lopsided.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has been thorough in its work on the E15 waiver request and several outside researchers have been evaluating and analyzing E15 and other blends for a number of years,” said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Bart Schott. “While EPA will have someone there to testify, the remainder of those on the list of witnesses testifying have a long-standing history of being critical of corn-based ethanol at any level. This is an extremely unbalanced panel and it is easy to see why some consider this hearing to be a sham.”

Those set to testify at the hearing this afternoon include representatives from the American Petroleum Institute, Environmental Working Group, Evinrude Outboard Motors, National Chicken Council, and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. Only one witness, Steven Burke with the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, will be representing the ethanol industry.

“This hearing pretends to look at the science behind E15,” Schott said. “We have a hard time understanding what makes the National Chicken Council or the Environmental Working Group scientific experts on the safety and efficiency of automotive fuels in modern internal combustion engines.”

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is also questioning the witness list for today’s hearing. “This is little more than a congressionally-sanctioned witch hunt for those with an axe to grind against farmers and ethanol producers,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. The RFA sent a letter to committee leadership to provide the ethanol industry’s point of view as it is not represented on the panel.

The hearing will be held at 2 pm Eastern time.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, NCGA, RFA