U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), today released a letter he received from the Coordinating Research Council, Inc. (CRC) regarding inaccurate statements from Gina McCarthy, nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in response to questions for the record regarding the research and test results of ethanol blends' impacts on engines.

"The EPA has a demonstrated pattern and practice of hiding and withholding data from the public to advance their agenda," Vitter said. "We thought the EPA had simply been ignoring the reality of the damaging effects of mid-level ethanol blends and the use of E15 to address the blendwall caused by the RFS, but we have come to find out they are actually hiding the facts - and going so far as to make inaccurate statements to Congress during the confirmation process."

Vitter's question to Gina McCarthy following her nomination hearing in April:

Was EPA aware of ongoing CRC testing on engine durability, fuel pumps and other engine components? Why not wait until that test was complete before making a decision? Because in the aftermath it looks like the decision was, at best, premature. The CRC data shows millions of approved vehicles are in danger of engine damage.

McCarthy's response to Vitter:

EPA has reviewed the limited portions of the CRC test program made available to the public. Unfortunately, complete information on the testing program has not been made available to the government, and the CRC expressly denied EPA or the Department of Energy (DOE) a role in the test program. As DOE has highlighted repeatedly (see for example here: http://energy.gov/articles/getting-it-right-accurate-testing-and-assessments-critical-deploying-next-generation-auto), the CRC E15 test programs have a number of significant scientific shortcomings, including failure to test components or vehicles on E0 and E10 to provide information on typical failure rates for baseline fuels.

The CRC writes that Ms. McCarthy must have been misinformed and that it's patently inaccurate to suggest that CRC denied EPA or DOE a role in the research test program. Further, CRC notes that all CRC research is made publicly available on the CRC website and for the mid-level ethanol blend research program special notifications were sent to DOE and EPA prior to reports being published on the CRC website. CRC's engine durability testing found two popular engines used in model year 2001-2009 vehicles failed when operated on midlevel ethanol blends including E15.

Click here to view a PDF of the letter from CRC to Vitter.