SDCGA decries EPA E15 waiver delay

Lack of leadership and discipline has led to the complete failure of the Obama Administration-led Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to honor its obligation to render a long-awaited decision approving a waiver allowing E15 to be used in all vehicles. The EPA, which has delayed its decision countless times, has made excuse after excuse, toppling to pressure by the anti-ethanol regime.

EPA is required by law to make a decision on the request to allow the use of cleaner burning blends of up to 15 percent ethanol, and considering its newest flimsy promise of delivering the decision this fall, it will be a full year later than the law requires. Apparently enforcement of rules is optional in the Obama Administration. 

“The Obama Administration is wrong to offer yet another pass to the EPA,” said Gary Duffy, president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA). “The SDCGA fully supports making certain we have scientific evidence to safely use higher blends of ethanol in our vehicles but a deadline is a deadline and not meeting it has far reaching implications on the viability of the ethanol industry and the economic and environmental health of our nation.”

The corn and ethanol industries have exceeded all expectations in production as they have committed to achieving goals set by the government in 2007 when Congress mandated the use of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022 in the Renewable Fuels Standard. By staying at E10, that goal is virtually impossible. The ethanol industry produces about 12 billion gallons of ethanol today. By 2012, the law will mandate more ethanol usage than can be sold as E10, according to an analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association. By moving to a 15 percent blend, or E15, ethanol production could grow to 16 billion to 17 billion gallons according to industry estimates.

“The only thing preventing the American ethanol industry from meeting the government mandate is the government itself,” said Duffy. “There has been a 90 percent mandate on petroleum for over 20 years, ever since the inception of ethanol. When does ethanol get that kind of access to the marketplace? The corn and ethanol industries are poised to deliver on our commitments and we deserve the confidence of market access to move forward but instead sit on the sidelines waiting for EPA to make up its mind.”

As the oil spill continues to clog the Gulf, pollute beaches and coat wildlife, it begs the question, what it will actually take for the agency purported to protect the environment to take action to allow market access for clean energy resources ready and able to feed the marketplace with environmentally friendly fuel.

The move to E15 would replace the need to import as much as 7 billion gallons of fuel, create 136,000 new jobs in the U.S., and reinforce national security by reducing our dependence on foreign sources. 

“The arbitrary cap on blending ethanol is outdated and only serves to limit consumers from buying the American-made fuel they want,” said Duffy. “By moving to E15, consumers can enjoy choices when they fuel up.”

As if the decision delay weren’t enough, the EPA has the audacity to suggest now limiting E15 possibly to only vehicles made after 2007; prior statements by EPA suggested 2001 and newer. Even though the EPA admits initial tests with E15 in conventional vehicles “look good.”

“The implication that only the last three years of vehicles can run on E15 is ridiculous,” said Duffy. “The SDCGA calls for the EPS’s feet to be held to the fire in making a decision on the E15 waiver. Our country is depending on it and the seriousness of our current energy situation should not be treated like merely handing homework in late.”

 

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