Boating Industry

February 2016

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8 | Boating Industry | February 2016 LAUNCH Analysis, data, solutions, news and perspectives to move your business forward. BY JONATHAN SWEET Late in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its latest ruling on how much ethanol must be blended into the nation's fuel supply, finalizing the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) vol- ume obligations. The decision was a mixed bag of sorts for the boating industry, as the levels were not set as high as mandated in the original 2007 law, but still higher than many in the industry would like. Boating Industry talked to Nicole Vasi- laros, vice president of legal and federal af- fairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association about what the announcement means for the industry, and efforts going for- ward to reform the RFS. This wasn't a worst-case scenario, but it wasn't everything the industry wanted. How should those in the industry feel about the decision? VASILAROS: It means that more E15 is going to come to the marketplace. It defi- nitely is a better scenario than the actual law mandates. The levels are a little bit lower than the law mandates, but higher than we wanted, higher than what was originally pro- posed back in 2014. From our standpoint, we're going to see more E15 come to the marketplace. There is some uncertainty about the availability of E0 as more and more ethanol is required to be blended into the fuel supply. [With that], manufacturers and suppliers are going to have less of an incentive to offer ethanol- free gasoline, which is what a lot of boaters really want/require/prefer to be honest. The other really big focus is that it just shows we really need a legislative fix. EPA took some action to go below the mandated legal requirements. It was a small positive step, but they can only do so much. It's really getting back to the letter of the law and trying to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard as it is written. Coming out with fuel volume require- ments for 2014 and 2015 at the end of 2015 seems odd. Can you explain why something like this happens? VASILAROS: This is obviously a very tech- nical issue for the oil companies and manu- facturers themselves. Those are the obligated parties that have to blend that requirement into the fuel supply. The delays just show, as you know, in Washington, a broken system. They had been delayed for more than a year, then EPA came out with levels halfway through 2014 and there was a lot of pushback. Our side, and those who believed that mandated levels should be lower, were pleased with the lowered amount, but there were corn producers and others that really pushed to have those levels higher. It, unfortunately, just became part of the political process. It's an agency that has been backlogged by this. It's an agency that has not met its obligations. They've been sued by several oil companies because of the delays. I can only imagine planning for your obliga- tions after your obligations are due. It shows the broken system, and it shows the contentious nature of the issue as well. Along those lines, what are some of the efforts NMMA is working on to get the law changed? VASILAROS: Just a few weeks back, we had a letter that was circulated in the House EPA decision will mean more E15 "[It] just shows we really need a legislative fix. … It's really getting back to the letter of the law and trying to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard as it is written." — Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA

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