Washington, D.C. - Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, made the following statement today on the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow gasoline to contain up to 15 percent ethanol (also known as E15) for the use in model year 2001 through 2006 cars and light duty trucks.
"EPA's latest action continues to push too much ethanol too fast," Senator Inhofe said. "Unfortunately, Congress has done little to exercise appropriate oversight of such decisions, despite growing bipartisan concerns over ethanol's mechanical problems and its economic and environmental impacts. Therefore, I am calling on Senator Boxer today to hold hearings on the nation's corn ethanol policies as soon as possible.
"I have expressed serious concerns about ethanol and related fuels issues since passage of the 2007 energy bill. With passage of that bill, Congress doubled the corn-based ethanol mandate despite mounting questions about ethanol's compatibility with existing engines, its transportation and infrastructure needs, its economic sustainability, and environmental and public health impacts.
"In response to overwhelming concerns expressed by Oklahomans about ethanol, I will be reintroducing legislation addressing the lack of availability of ethanol-free gasoline. This approach will restore choice at the pump and allow fuel producers to respond to market demands-specifically, when and where consumers prefer clear gas."
Earlier this year, Senator Inhofe joined Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in requesting that the EPA examine the impacts of its recently announced policy to allow 15 percent volume ethanol (E15) in the nation's transportation fuel supply. Specifically, the Senators want EPA to examine the impacts on the supply of pure gasoline required for operating thousands of engines in snowmobiles, chainsaws, lawnmowers, boats, small airplanes and other non-road machinery. In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, both senators inquired as to whether EPA considered the availability of pure gasoline in granting the waiver for the use of E15, as well as what policy recommendations the Administrator would suggest to ensure sufficient supply of pure gasoline.
In a separate letter, Snowe, Inhofe and several other senators - including Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) - stated their opposition to EPA's E15 decision and outlined its potential "unintended consequences."