Ethanol industry groups are reacting to the announcement this morning from the Environmental Protection Agency that may be another six months before a final decision can be made on increasing the allowable ethanol content in fuel to 15 percent.
Growth Energy, the coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters that filed the Green Jobs Waiver seeking E15, is optimistic that the agency will approve E15 upon the completion of ongoing tests early next year.
“This announcement is a strong signal that we are preparing to move to E15, a measure that will create 136,000 new U.S. jobs, cut greenhouse gas emissions and lessen America’s dependence on imported oil,” said Gen. Wesley Clark, Co-Chairman of Growth Energy.
“While we believe the data included in the Green Jobs Waiver supports raising the blend to E15, critics have called for additional testing. We are confident the ongoing tests will further confirm the data we submitted in the Growth Energy Green Jobs Waiver and silence those critics, allowing more American-produced energy to enter the market.” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.
The Renewable Fuels Association says the delay threatens the future growth of the ethanol industry.
“In order to avoid paralysis by analysis, EPA should immediately approve intermediate ethanol blends, such as E12,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen in a statement. “Allowing for a 20 percent increase in ethanol’s potential share of the market would provide some breathing room for the industry while EPA finishes its testing on E15. Additionally, it would represent a good faith gesture that underscores the commitment President Obama has pledged to biofuels.”
EPA’s announcement in a letter to Growth Energy today indicated that it will be the middle of 2010 before they have enough data to make a final decision on the waiver.