Boating Industry

February 2014

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Photograph by Lars Plougmann Regulatory update: E-15 Ethanol efforts moving forward, but no passage yet t he marine industry and others worried about ethanol in the fuel supply are making progress in the battle against E-15, although no long-term solutions have gained approval. The largest concern for boating is the use of 15-percent ethanol blends, known as E-15. Although not approved for use in marine engines, industry advocates say there is significant potential for misfueling if boaters fill up at a gas station, as many do. The industry scored a temporary victory in November with the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to cut the amount of ethanol required to be blended into gasoline and diesel for 2014. As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the EPA has author- 18 | Boating Industry | February 2014 P18x19-BI14FEB-E15Update.indd 18 ity to set those levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Still, to make real progress Congress needs to act to address what John McKnight, vice president of government relations with the National Marine Manufacturers Association, called an "unattainable mandate." "We appreciate the clear step the EPA has taken to not only acknowledge the unattainable mandate included in the standard but also to leave room for consumers, manufacturers and industries, including the recreational boating community that rely on a continued availability of low-ethanol fuel blends," McKnight said at the time of the announcement. Representatives from NMMA, BoatUS and other associations testified in front of Congress on the issue in December. In comments in advance of the hearing, Nicole Vasilaros, director of regulatory and legal affairs for NMMA called the EPA's decision a "limited fix, not a permanent solution." "We remain sure that this is just a temporary stopgap," she said. While EPA has some leeway to make revisions to the requirements set forth by the RFS, the law itself needs to be revised or revoked to make any long-term impact. "Congress has to also do its part," Vasilaros said. "The RFS is a broken law that sets unrealistic fuel standards." Nicole Wood, government affairs representative from BoatUS, said her group commends the EPA for taking a "giant step" toward addressing the problems in the RFS, but that there are still several potential problems with ethanol, particularly E15 blends being seen in more gas stations across the country. According to BoatUS, more than 63 percent of its members report fueling their boats at roadside gas stations. So while E15 is not approved for use in marine engines, there is increasing potential for misfueling and engine failure, Wood said. 1/8/14 12:19 PM

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