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MRAA Meets With OMB on Renewable Fuel

Wednesday, October 8, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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On Sept. 22, MRAA and 13 other groups working to change the renewable fuel standard for ethanol additives to gasoline met in the West Wing of the White House to discuss the impacts of current renewable fuels and to ask the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and the Environmental Protection Agency to maintain current volume levels for next year. EPA attended the meeting, but via conference call in listen-only mode.

EPA had just submitted a draft rule to OMB for review and approval before it can be released to the public. Rumors in the D.C. ethanol community indicate that EPA wants to increase the total volume level of renewable fuels that must be blended with gasoline. OMB made it clear at the beginning of the meeting that it would not release any detail as of the rule, nor would it answer any questions. OMB was there to listen.

Attending trade associations each described the impact of ethanol on their products, from increasing grain prices for chickens to high transportation costs. MRAA’s legislative council Larry Innis spoke about the impact on marine engines and outboard motors. After describing MRAA members’ involvement as service providers who see the damage and have to fix it, Innis mentioned that the industry has been witnessing damage to older marine engines for some time now, even with E-10. An increase to E-15 or even E-40 (which has been talked about within D.C. circles to meet volume goals set by EPA to further reduce gasoline usage) would cause serious problems, Innis explained, and be disastrous for public safety when boats quit working underway and away from the dock. He asked that EPA maintain the current levels of ethanol until the results of research being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, boat manufacturers and the Department of Energy is complete.

OMB gave no indication of when the rule is expected to be released.

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