November 15, 2010 | Vol. 60, No. 22
|Dear PEI Member:
It seems as though something newsworthy happens on the E15 front every week. Here, in chronological order, is an update on the most recent developments of particular interest to PEI members.
October 28. According to INSIDE EPA, Mark Barolo with EPA's Office of Underground Storage Tanks, told the Association of State & Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) that EPA is developing guidance on the compatibility of E15 with legacy underground storage tank equipment. Acknowledging that UL did not start testing equipment for ethanol until the mid-1990s, EPA's guidance will "clarify how owners can demonstrate that their existing tanks meet EPA's compatibility requirements, even if the tanks have not been tested by UL," INSIDE EPA said.
October 28. The Petroleum Marketers Association of America and the Renewable Fuels Association issued a joint memorandum urging petroleum marketers to limit the sale of E15 to flexible fuel vehicles until all regulations on the sale of the fuel are finalized. Noting that some marketers have already begun to market E15 (see October 27 TL), "we encourage each of you to remain vigilant so that you and others do not unintentionally offer E15 to customers driving non-flexible fuel vehicles," the two trade associations said. "E15 will provide customers and marketers another option to maximize their domestic renewable fuel use. But failing to adhere to the legal steps required to do so may give our fuel products and our industries an unnecessary and avoidable black eye."
November 3. Democratic and Republican leaders have said they will make an effort to find common ground over energy issues in the wake of the November 2 election in which the Republicans gained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (RKY) said after the election that plug-in hybrid cars are an area of "potential cooperation" with the Obama administration. Although ethanol wasn't specifically mentioned, the 2012 Iowa Caucuses are still slated to be the first major electoral event in the nominating process for President of the United States, and it's difficult to imagine any serious candidates emerging from Iowa without supporting the increased use of ethanol. The Iowa Caucuses are scheduled to take place February 12, 2012.
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November 9. Nine farm and fuel trade associations, along with the American Petroleum Institute (API), filed two separate legal challenges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over EPA's decision to approve E15 in some vehicles. The petitioners maintain that the EPA administrator may grant a waiver for a new fuel additive only if it "will not cause or contribute to a failure of any emission control device or system." They argue that EPA does not have the authority to permit higher ethanol blends in some vehicles and not others. API's group director of downstream operations, Bob Greco, said in press reports that EPA's decision was "premature" and "puts consumers at risk." He said that testing by the oil-and-gas industry, automakers and the Department of Energy on whether E15 is safe is not yet complete.
November 16. EPA will hold a public hearing tomorrow in Chicago on the E15 pump labeling requirement. The hearing will be held from 10 am to 5 pm―or until everyone has had a chance to speak―at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago. You can listen to the hearing over the phone if you are unable to attend in person. Call the toll-free number (1-866-299-3188). At the prompt, enter conference code 7342144423 followed by the # sign. Only 150 lines will be available, and you will not be able to present testimony over the phone.
December 2010. EPA indicates it is still on target to decide whether to allow E15 to be used for vehicles made between 2001 and 2006.
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The TulsaLetter (ISSN 0193-9467) is published two or three times each month by the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Robert N. Renkes, Executive Vice President, Editor. Opinions expressed are the opinions of the Editor. Basic circulation confined to PEI members.