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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and David Vitter (R-La.) introduced legislation intended to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) waiver that allows E15 to be sold at the pump.
The EPA approved the alternative fuel for use in vehicles model year 2001 or newer last June. Scott Zaremba, president of Zarco 66, was the first convenience store retailer to offer E15 in Lawrence, Kans., shortly after.
According to the senators, the higher blend of ethanol can cause engine damage, reduce fuel efficiency, and contribute to higher corn prices and rising food costs for American consumers.
"EPA's flawed waivers allowing E15 amount to government bureaucrats issuing short-sighted regulations that negatively impact families and businesses across the country," said Wicker in a statement. "The concerns surrounding E15 that existed prior to the waivers have increased instead of diminishing."
Vitter added it is "irresponsible for the EPA to allow E15 without sufficient testing and technical analysis. I support an all-inclusive energy strategy, but experimenting before understanding the consequences and potential cost of using E15 is unfair to consumers."
In addition, the AAA released a survey in December that revealed 95 percent of consumers don't understand E15.
However, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) vehemently objected to several tenets put forth in the new legislation.
“Clearly the motivation behind the legislation introduced by Sens. Wicker and Vitter is fueled by emotion and loyalty to home state oil constituents," said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA. "Now that ethanol represents 10 percent of the American fuel supply and growing, oil companies are panicked. They are fighting to preserve their monopoly, their unfair and outrageously expensive tax credits, and most of all, their record breaking profits. Ethanol is no longer a gnat nipping at their precious ankles. It is a threat to the oil-centric status quo. The RFA and the ethanol producers we represent would welcome a chance to meet with Sens. Wicker and Vitter to explain the benefits of E15 and dispel myths and any lingering doubts."
E15 is the most tested fuel in history with more than six million test miles driven and no faults found, added Dinneen.
"Expanded E15 use means healthier people and a cleaner environment," he said."Ethanol displaces many of the toxins and carcinogens found in traditional gasoline while delivering benefits such as a 35- to 49-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Senators who represent Gulf states certainly don't need to be reminded of the environmental hazards of oil production. They, in particular, should appreciate a fuel alternative that is biodegradable and water soluble."