A number of ethanol supporting organizations recently sent a letter to the chairman and ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House Appropriations Committees urguing them to oppose a proposal by Reps. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) that would delay commercialization of next generation ethanol.
The groups, which includ Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and the National Corn Growers Association, oppose a proposal by Sullivan and Peters to include language in the FY12 omnibus appropriations package that would prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using any appropriated funds to implement the E15 waiver.
The Sullivan-Peters proposed language — which did not receive a vote during this year’s appropriations process or a hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee — is aimed at derailing and altering the long-standing process by which new fuel blends are brought into the marketplace. The EPA approved E15 after a more exhaustive study and data collection than any other of the 11 previously-approved fuel waiver petitions.
The letter from the organizations noted that “preventing the EPA from implementing the use of E15 for cars, pickups and SUVs made in model year 2001 and newer, further contributes to our nation’s reliance on foreign oil. Extensive testing has been done on E15 and it has been found to be a safe and effective fuel for use in the vehicles approved in the waiver. There has been no evidence to the contrary that would indicate problems in any vehicle regardless of vintage.”
Further, the EPA’s decision does not make E15 mandatory. Consumers are not required to use E15. Gas stations will not be required to sell E15. And the EPA will require a fuel label that clearly delineates that using E15 in model year 2000 vehicles, small engines and marine engines is illegal.
Lastly, the Sullivan-Peters language would inhibit new and innovative alternatives to fossil fuels. We are looking toward cutting-edge innovation to move to new ethanol feedstocks, like plant wastes, wood chips and switchgrass. The Sullivan-Peters language would solidify the status quo-a 90 percent mandate of our fuel supply from oil and would prevent American-made ethanol from being made available to consumers.