E.P.A. to Decide on Allowing More Ethanol in Fuel

BoatUS urges boaters to speak out. A report from our September 30, 2010, CW Reckoning

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ALEXANDRIA, Va., September 28, 2010 - In a matter of days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) is expected to announce its decision on whether to approve the addition of up to 50% more ethanol in the nation's gasoline supply, from the current 10 percent (E10) concentration to a potential 15 percent (E15). The nation's largest boat owners group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS ), is urging recreational boaters to speak out now and tell President Obama that scientific testing on E15 must precede EPA's decision and not come at a later date.

BoatUS embraces the need to diversify the country's energy sources. However, the organization is concerned that E.P.A. may put the "cart before the horse" by granting increased ethanol before understanding its operational effects on marine engines. A strong solvent, ethanol has been known to degrade fuel systems and lead to expensive repairs. "Last year, a record number of recreational boaters asked the E.P.A. to test marine engines before allowing up to 15 percent (E15) ethanol in gasoline," said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. "While this testing has not been completed, we believe the E.P.A. is getting ready to announce their decision on increased ethanol in the next couple of weeks. We expect the agency will allow E15 for some engines and not others. In addition to the lack of scientific testing data, we suspect this will create different fuels with different prices, availability and add consumer confusion."

"Many boaters, having suffered through the last ethanol transition to E10, agree that we should learn from recent history and first completely understand what the new fuel will do before approving its use in boats," added Podlich."It may turn out to be harmless, but what if it's not? What happens if safety is affected or boaters are forced to pay for expensive repairs? Remember that most boat engine warranties are void when using ethanol beyond the 10 percent level."

BoatUS urges recreational boaters to go www.BoatUS.com/gov and let President Obama know your concerns about ethanol and ask him to require the E.P.A. to compete testing and get the science first. BoatUS is part of followthescience.org , a coalition of 46 motor sports, environmental, food and citizen advocate groups asking for "science first" before the E.P.A. allows a new fuel on the market. BoatUS is also a member of AllSAFE , the Alliance for a Safe Alternative Fuels Environment.