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Burgess Wants Pause On The EPA's Ethanol Waiver


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), has reintroduced HR 1469, the Leave Ethanol Volumes at Existing Levels (LEVEL) Act that will halt the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) actions in moving forward with a waiver for an increase in ethanol in fuel. Currently, gasoline contains a 10 percent blend wall of ethanol, known as E-10.

In October, 2010, the EPA granted a waiver for the allowable amount of ethanol in gasoline to increase to 15 percent, or E-15. The EPA has not released any of its own studies on the matter, and relied entirely on outside studies.

"I questioned Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding the EPA's decision to move forward with a waiver for E-15, and was wholly dissatisfied with her responses as to the research EPA has done itself on the safety of increasing to this level of ethanol," said Dr. Burgess. "She deferred entirely to outside groups and to the Department of Energy's research. There are serious questions we still need answered. Does EPA not employ its own scientists and experts? Is EPA's position that it is incapable of doing its own research? We've already seen that EPA was inept at performing its own "climate science' research."

The EPA originally approved this wavier only for engines in car model years 2007 or newer. However, just a few short months later, the EPA has expanded its approval, now allowing E15 to be used in car model years 2001 and newer. The LEVEL Act, will allow for a pause before EPA hastily approves any further ethanol in fuel and will allow for more studies to be conducted, and more assurances to be made that an increase in the blend wall for ethanol will be safe.

"The security of the public's well-being should be paramount in this case," said Dr. Burgess. "This is serious business. Car engines, lawn mowers, generators -- any engine that uses gasoline, could be potentially at risk for catching fire or having mechanical failure. Moreover, businesses tasked with selling this new gasoline with increased ethanol could face potential lawsuits from consumers who fail to follow posted signs warning them that E-15 should only be used in newer engines."

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