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The Hill: Senators mount opposition to EPA's decision to allow higher ethanol blends
January 7, 2011

Posted by Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov

The Hill

Senators mount opposition to EPA's decision to allow higher ethanol blends

By Andrew Restuccia

01/07/11

Link to Article

A bipartisan coalition of senators are mounting increased opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to allow some vehicles to fuel up with higher blends of ethanol in their gasoline.

In two consecutive letters to the EPA this week, the senators criticized the EPA's
decision to allow 15 percent ethanol blends (E15) in gasoline for model year 2007 and newer vehicles, and asked the agency to analyze the effects of increased ethanol use on the vehicle fleet.

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Wednesday asking whether the agency's decision to allow E15 blends in some vehicles will affect the availability of pure gasoline.

"Limited supply of pure gasoline in Maine has resulted in the use of ethanol, which has caused damage to small engines and threatens to undermine recreational activities including snowmobiling, boating, and general aviation," Snowe said in a statement Thursday.

The senators requested that EPA conduct an analysis of the effect of the increased use of ethanol on the availability of gasoline.

In a separate letter Thursday, Snow, Inhofe and several other senators - including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) - laid out their opposition to the EPA's E15 decision and outlined its potential "unintended consequences."

The senators point to the potential for misfueling, in which consumers put E15 in engines that are not approved to handle the fuel. They also warn of ethanol's "corrosive properties" and its "tendency to clog motors not designed to accommodate biofuels."

A number of industry groups, including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Marine Manufacturers Association, have asked a federal court to overturn EPA's ethanol decision.

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