EPA's Jackson Pressed on Four-Gallon-Minimum Mandate of Ethanol Blend
Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee are going after the EPA’s recent decision to mandate consumers purchase at least four gallons of fuel from blender pumps that dispense both E15 and E10 gasoline-ethanol blends.
The minimum-purchase rules -- called the "misfueling mitigation plans" -- are intended to prevent smaller tanks from accidentally filling up with the potentially harmful blend. The recently approved E15 blend can hurt the engines of older passenger vehicles, boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs and lawnmowers.
“The EPA has no business telling Americans how much fuel they must purchase,” Committee Vice Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and member Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) wrote EPA administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday. “This unprecedented attempt to remedy the consequences of EPA’s E15 waivers will not prevent widespread misfueling of millions of vehicles and products already owned by Americans that are not covered by the waiver decisions and introduces an unacceptable intrusion into the daily lives of drivers.”
“Furthermore, the EPA’s first-ever mandated purchase requirement appears to have been made outside the normal rulemaking process, seems antithetical to free markets, and highlights the flaws in the Agency’s hasty decision to grant partial waivers for E15 prior to comprehensive scientific assessment and evaluation," they wrote.
The lawmakers asked Jackson to explain the specific statutory authority by which the agency can mandate a minimum fuel purchase.
They also asked for numerous clarifications about the hazy requirement, including why public comment wasn't solicited on the rule and whether other options to keep the wrong fuel out of the wrong tanks were considered.
Last year, Sensenbrenner presented Jackson with letters from 14 major automakers arguing that E15 would lower fuel efficiency, damage engines, and void warranties in their vehicles, including those made after 2001.