The American Fuel and Petroleum Manufacturers Association (AFPM) had compared the recent New Hamsphire Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) lawsuit loss by the oil industry to E15. MTBE has been found to contaminate ground water and as a result nearly half the states in the U.S. have banned its use. E15, the most test fuel in the history of the country has never been shown to contaminate ground water and is a more environmental friendly option.
Bob Dinneen, CEO and president of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), called the statement “reckless” and “revisionist”. “AFPM and the oil companies are living in a fantasy parallel universe if they think they can revise history to tarnish E15 and the RFS. MTBE did not go through the same 211F waiver process that E15 did. MTBE did not undergo six million miles of testing like E15 did. The oil companies pushed 15 percent MTBE approval under a much less rigorous waiver process that did not require the robust emissions and drivability testing that E15 has successfully completed.”
“Oil companies also did not conduct extensive 211(b) health effects testing prior to the registration of MTBE for commercial use,” continued Dinneen. “Oil companies chose MTBE over biodegradable ethanol because it was a product they produced and it increased their profits. In fact, they used MTBE to keep ethanol out of the market because the two fuels could not be used together. Unfortunately, MTBE was not compatible with the fuel distribution system. It leaked from tanks and quickly migrated to drinking water supplies. MTBE is toxic. Oil companies losing the court case in New Hampshire screams a dire warning that oil companies should not be trusted with our energy future. Oil companies have a disturbing track record of putting their monopoly ahead of innovation and progress, and their profits ahead of consumer pocketbooks.”
Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy called the statement “absurd” and noted that in terms of the New Hampshire lawsuit, AFPM, refiners and oil companies refused to use cleaner-burning, biodegradable ethanol, and instead chose to use an oil-derived alternative that ended up contaminating water systems throughout the U.S., and is also suspected of having carcinogenic properties.
“This is just another example of the length the refiners will go to avoid using renewable fuels,” said Buis. “They chose MTBE over ethanol until it polluted water systems because of leaks – and switched to ethanol after states and local communities started banning its use. The only consistency among the oil companies and its affiliates like AFPM is that they will say and do anything to block market access for biofuels to protect their near monopoly on the liquid fuel system, as well as their bottom line – even if it is at the expense of their customers.”
“In a wild stretch of the imagination that ignores reality and facts, AFPM are trying to say the most tested fuel ever in American history, which is cleaner and biodegradable, will have the same negative effects as a toxic additive produced by AFPM. Give me a break. Big Oil – why don’t you tell the American people just what is in the oil spilling in communities across America, such as the Yellowstone river, the Mississippi river, Kalamazoo, Mayflower Arkansas and all over the Gulf of Mexico? I can tell you one thing – it isn’t environmentally safe, biodegradable ethanol,” concluded Buis.