June 18, 2010

EPA Delays Decision On E15 Until Fall

The Associated Press is reporting that the Environmental Protection Agency says it will wait until this fall to decide whether car engines can handle higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline.

The agency had been expected to decide by this month whether to increase the maximum blend from 10 to 15 percent.

The EPA said Thursday that initial tests "look good" and should be completed by the end of September. A decision will come after the Energy Department completes the testing of the higher blend on vehicles built after 2007.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis responded to the delay with a letter written to President Barack Obama. In the letter he noted that the waiver process requires a decision to be made within 270 days and that the EPA has already delayed the process once.

Mr. President, in March of 2009 Growth Energy filed a waiver with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to raise the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. Accompanying our waiver was a significant body of data which we believe demonstrates that raising the blend to 15 percent ethanol meets all the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

The waiver process requires a decision on a waiver within 270 days. However, instead of making a decision, EPA informed us on Dec. 1, 2009 that they were delaying the decision until the U.S. Department of Energy completed their own studies on the impact of moving from E10 to E15. EPA made a promise in writing that the decision would be made by the middle of this year. We are hearing that the decision on the waiver will again be delayed because the DOE tests would not be completed until this fall.

As you would expect, we find this further delay unacceptable. The fact that the federal agencies involved here cannot meet their own deadlines – on a decision that means so much to our nation – reinforces a public perception that government bureaucracy does not work in the best interests of the public.

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