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U.S. EPA delays decision on ethanol blend increase

Dec. 1, 2009, Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is postponing its decision on whether to allow for the blending of up to 15% ethanol in conventional gasoline.


December 1, 2009
By Canadian Biomass

Dec. 1, 2009, Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced
that it is postponing its decision on whether to allow for the blending of up
to 15% ethanol in conventional gasoline. Increasing the amount of ethanol
blended into gasoline is critical to ensuring that the Renewable Fuels Standard is a successful policy and that there is a market for advanced biofuel
technologies.

“This delay threatens to paralyze the continued evolution of America’s ethanol
industry,” says Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels
Association
. “As the EPA itself indicated, the scientific data to date have
demonstrated no ill effects of increased ethanol use in any vehicle currently
on the road. Moreover, this delay will chill investment in advanced biofuel
technologies at a critical time in their development and commercialization.”

“In order to avoid paralysis by analysis, the EPA should immediately approve intermediate
ethanol blends such as E12. Allowing for a 20% increase in ethanol’s potential
share of the market would provide some breathing room for the industry while the
EPA finishes its testing on E15. Additionally, it would represent a good-faith
gesture that underscores the commitment President Obama has pledged to
biofuels.”

Beyond the delay, another worrisome development is EPA’s apparent decision to limit
the scope of its waiver research to vehicles of model year 2001 and newer. The
data to date have shown no ill effects of increased ethanol use in any vehicle,
regardless of model year. The Renewable Fuels Association encourages the EPA to look at the waiver
request with the entire range of vehicles in mind or provide detailed,
scientific rationale for excluding older model vehicles.


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