BoatUS Speaks Up for America's Boat Owners at EPA Ethanol Hearings

WASHINGTON, DC, December 5, 2013 – The blending of ethanol into the nation’s gasoline  supply was the topic of a hearing held today by the EPA to discuss the 2014  Standards for the Renewable  Fuel Standard (RFS) Program. Last month, EPA released the 2014 proposed  standards which reduced the amount of corn ethanol mandated under the RFS for  the first time since the law was implemented. This was a small but  tide-changing victory for boat owners whose vessels cannot operate with ethanol  above a 10% blend level without serious harm or safety concerns. BoatUS  Government Affairs Program Manager Nicole Payla Wood, along with a coalition of  representatives from environmental groups, fuel and manufacturing associations  as well as food, restaurant, poultry and meat producers testified at today’s  hearing to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“We  believe in a national renewable fuels policy, but one that is both safe for  boaters and sound for the environment,” said Wood, “However, until the current  ethanol mandate is removed, there is little room for investment in other  renewable fuels that may not have the current negative impact of corn-based ethanol.”  Wood explained that the real success would come if Congress changes the law to  recognize today’s decreasing fuel usage in the US.
In  her testimony, Wood advised the EPA, “We want to commend the EPA for taking a  giant step towards addressing the current day realities of the Renewable Fuel  Standard with the drafting of the 2014 proposed renewable volumetric  obligations. We applaud their pivotal recognition of the shrinking demand for  fuel and hope this sends a signal to Congress of the dangers that an impending  blend wall presents to the average consumer. The EPA is trying to do its part  for the consumer in addressing these market changes, and now is the time for  Congress to do so as well.”
Wood  added: “As the Renewable Fuel Standard policy pushes higher blends of ethanol  gasoline into the market, there is an increased potential for misfueling and  engine failure that needs to be made clear. Not all Americans can afford to  drive tow vehicles made after 2001, and for boaters these higher blends are  poison to our marine engines.”
There  is a critical safety and soundness issue related to the use of higher blends of  ethanol in marine engines that cannot be denied. More than half of Boat Owners Association of The United States members fuel their boats at roadside gas stations. With 11 states now approved  to sell E15 – a fuel that no marine engine is warrantied to run on – the  opportunity for misfueling is growing. And what may result in a roadside  breakdown for a car, can quickly lead to a search and rescue mission or search  and recovery in a boat.”
“We  think it’s also important to point out that EPA’s role in the Renewable Fuel  Standard is to implement the policy, not reform the law.  Although there are implicit waiver  authorities written into the law, the EPA shouldn’t have to use that authority  to modify policy to meet the realities of the current marketplace every year.  It is the responsibility of the EPA and Congress however, to ensure that the  fuel they approve for our consumers is a safe and reliable fuel for our  engines, all engines. It is our hope that Congress will now accept the baton,  and continue their work on a permanent fix for the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
For  more information, a two-page 2013 E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard Issue  Brief by BoatUS Government Affairs is available at:  Brief – Ethanol.pdf


About  BoatUS:
Boat  Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading  advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with  government representation, services such as 24-hour on water boat towing as  well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed  boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits that include marina and West  Marine shopping discounts, and vital information that improves recreational  boating. Go to for more.

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