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US approves E15 fuel use

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced the approval of E15 for use in vehicles built from 2001 to 2006 on Friday.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says the decision was a result of Department of Energy completing tests showing that E15 did not pose a problem in new cars and light trucks.

Groups such as Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association praised the move as did several others, while other groups were less enthusiastic and condemned the action.

The US National Corn Growers Association was one of the organizations that fell in the pro column. NCGA Chairman Darrin Ihnen called the announcement welcome news and said that the organization was pleased with the agency’s conclusion that the use of higher blends of ethanol in vehicles is safe.

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, was also pleased. He called the decision the right conclusion and said this also helps address the ethanol blend wall by providing greater market access for the ethanol industry and for farmers who produce clean, renewable energy solutions for our country.

Several politicians also voiced their support including Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Senators Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

However, coming down against the decision were a number of livestock organizations including the US National Pork Producers Association.

Randy Spronk, chairman of NPPC’s Environment Committee, said, “It’s very disappointing that the administration made this decision given the rising price of corn and the lower estimate for this year’s corn harvest that recently was announced.”

Another opponent of the decision was the US National Chicken Council, which called it “another giveaway to ethanol interests” and shows EPA will not balance broad national interests on the issue.

“E15 may be good for ethanol producers and corn farmers, but it is clearly detrimental to all other interested parties,” said Bill Roenigk, senior vice president and chief economist for NCC. “To the extent EPA and the ethanol industry actually manage to force more ethanol into the nation’s motor gasoline, they will put even more pressure on the already very tight supply of corn.”

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