Oil Scores a Victory in House, Ethanol Continues Battle

Joanna Schroeder

In an update to a story posted earlier this week, in a late night vote the House of Representatives have approved provisions that would block the implementation of E15 into the marketplace. Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) presented a provision to the House Continuing Resolution (a short-term resolution that would fund the government through the end of this year) that would block the EPA from its ability to roll out E15 and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) presented a provision that would disallow blender pumps and ethanol storage facilities. Both provisions were accepted into the resolution that was passed by the House.

“The Sullivan provision picks politics over science. EPA’s consideration of E15 was based on a more exhaustive study and collection of data than any of the 11 previously-approved petitions. No other fuel mix has been tested more,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, which filed the Green Jobs Waiver for E15 in March 2009. “With all the turmoil going on in the Middle East and elsewhere, the House of Representatives just voted to stop the only viable alternative to foreign oil: ethanol. It is the wrong move at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.”

Renewable Fuels President and CEO Bob Dinneen expressed his frustration with the action made by the House. “Last night, political science trumped physical science. The fact remains ethanol is a thoroughly tested, safe, and effective motor fuel. Americans spend nearly $1 billion a day importing oil, often from hostile regions of the world. If the chaos in the Middle East teaches us anything, it should be that America must forcefully begin down the path of energy self-reliance. Increasing the use of domestic renewable fuels like ethanol is the first, and arguably, the easiest step we can take.”

While at this point, these provisions are not law, the Senate must also pass an identical package and from there the president must also sign the bill. President Obama has indicated that he would veto a bill that contains provisions that blocks biofuels from entering the market. Not only will these provisions keep the country from meeting its renewable fuels goals set out in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, but it keeps the country beholden to energy produced from oil produced in volatile regions.

Growth Energy points out several statistics about E15:

  • ∙ E15 is the most tested fuel blend in our nation’s history.
  • ∙ DOE and EPA have both said that ethanol does not harm engine durability nor emissions equipment for vehicles 2001 and newer (which represents nearly 70 percent of all vehicles in the United States and 75percent of all the fuel consumed).
  • ∙ Delphi, the global maker of engine parts, recently stated that it has been supplying E15-compliant fuel pumps since 1992, and that its fuel pumps today can even handle E25 blends.
  • ∙ E15 will reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 7 billion gallons annually.
  • ∙ E15 will create up to 136,000 American jobs that can’t be outsourced.
  • ∙ E15 will improve our environment – corn ethanol has 59 percent fewer harmful emissions compared to conventional gasoline.
  • ∙ E15 will inject $24.4 billion into the U.S. economy and help keep more U.S. money within our own borders.
  • ∙ E15 is voluntary.
  • ∙ Without E15, you are mandating that 90 percent of all fuel will be petroleum-based. Capping the blend at 10 percent will prevent the development of next-generation biofuels.
  • ∙ On February 20, Sunoco Green E15 will debut at the Daytona 500. The blend of 15 percent corn-based ethanol will be used in all three NASCAR series during the 2011 season.

Last summer, Growth Energy introduced the Fueling Freedom plan, a proposal that would open the transportation fuels market by investing in ethanol infrastructure like blender pumps and allow consumers a fuel choice at the pump.

“At a time of increasing instability in oil exporting countries, this job killing amendment from Rep. Flake would deepen our addiction to foreign oil and further hurt our economy by limiting consumer access to the only commercially viable fuel alternative that is cleaner and more cost efficient than gasoline refined from oil,” said Buis. “Passage by the House is only the first step in this process. We will fight to remove these provisions in the Senate.”

Dinneen added, “The House has denied consumers choice in the type of fuel they use. Instead, they have chosen to continue giving oil companies a virtual monopoly over the fueling system. Our dependence on imported oil is neither safe nor sustainable. As the world’s largest oil companies tell us they can’t find new sources of oil, this House measure would seek to relegate future generations to a preventable future of oil dependence.”

blends, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, Legislation, RFA