Industry optimistically awaits E15 waiver decision

By Kris Bevill | November 11, 2009
Report posted Nov. 13, 2009, at 9:14 a.m. CST

The U.S. EPA is scheduled to reach its final decision on the E15 waiver request by Dec. 1. The request was submitted by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers March 6 and, according to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the EPA must take final action on submitted requests within 270 days of its receiving such applications. However, there is wide speculation that the agency will delay its final rule, claiming more study needs to be conducted before it can reach a decision.

According to Cathy Milbourn, senior press officer at the EPA, the agency "continues to work with the Department of Energy to assess data on the impact of E15 on vehicle operations. We will continue to move forward expeditiously with our work on the Growth Energy waiver request."

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said the group anticipates the EPA will make its decision by the Dec. 1 deadline and said all the necessary data supporting the increased ethanol blend was provided to the EPA in its initial request. "The data we submitted on the Green Jobs waiver proves there is no impact on engine performance or durability that would prevent the EPA from deciding in favor of E15," he said, adding, "if we move to E15 we will replace the need to import as much as 7 billion gallons of fuel…create 136,000 new jobs in the U.S., and reinforce national security by reducing our dependence on foreign states."

The ethanol industry has already bumped up against the blend wall and if the EPA were to deny the increase to E15, future U.S. ethanol production could be jeopardized. When asked what actions Growth Energy could pursue in response to a potential EPA denial of the request, Buis stated, "We will consider all our options, including legislation or further regulatory changes."