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E&E News: Groups Request Senate Hearing on EPA's E15 decision
August 25, 2010

Posted by David Lungren

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E&E News  

Groups request Senate hearing on EPA's E15 decision

By Jason Plautz, E&E reporter 


Link to Article  

Thirty-nine industry and environmental groups requested a Senate hearing next month to examine U.S. EPA's handling of a proposal that would boost the amount of ethanol blended in gasoline.

In a letter to Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and the panel's ranking Republican, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the groups say there are too many unanswered questions about EPA's looming decision on whether to increase ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. EPA is expected to decide the matter this fall after the Energy Department completes vehicle testing.

"We believe there are many questions remaining before EPA makes its final decision on the mid-level ethanol fuel waiver, and that the Environment and Public Works Committee is the ideal place to ask those questions," the letter says. "We also believe that the Department of Energy should fully expand and accelerate mid-level ethanol blends research in the areas that are necessary to protect consumers."

Biofuels groups are pushing for EPA to approve a waiver for the E15 blend before the ethanol industry produces more ethanol than can be used. EPA is expected to make the change, although it could exclude older cars that may not be able to accommodate the fuel.

There are concerns that the "mid-level" ethanol blend will harm some engines or that consumers will damage their vehicles by refueling with the wrong blend. A bipartisan group of four House members last month asked EPA to look more carefully into whether the fuel could harm engines (E&ENews PM, July 29).

The groups seeking the Senate hearing include the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

Click here to read the letter.


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