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Feds E15 Decision May Cause Boater Headaches

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) said it’s disappointed that the U.S. Court of Appeals voted to dismiss the recreational boating industry’s challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to allow E15 into the U.S. fuel supply.

This decision puts the potentially dangerous E15 at gas pumps across the country, a troubling scenario for American boaters and the recreational boating industry.

While this decision is a setback it does not speak to the underlying merits of the case — whether EPA was in fact correct in its interpretation of the Clean Air Act to allow for a partial waiver in the first case. NMMA is confident that were the Court to rule on the merits of the case that it would find that EPA has overstepped its authority for a partial waiver of E15. As a result, NMMA is currently evaluating further litigation options

feds e15 decisionLate in 2011, the EPA approved the use of E15 for a subset of on-highway motor vehicles (model years 2001-2006). Earlier that same year, the EPA approved the use of E15 for model year 2007 and newer vehicles as part of its response to a waiver petition filed in the spring of 2009 by pro-ethanol lobby group Growth Energy.

The partial waiver excluded marine engines and other non-road engines such as snowmobiles, lawn and garden equipment, the NMMA has been concerned that the waiver will lead to widespread misfueling by consumers. Recently, NMMA at its own cost distributed labels for the marine industry to warn against fueling marine engines with E15.

EPA also refused to mandate that if a facility sells E15 it would also offer E10 or E0 fuel for the nation’s estimated 13 million registered power boat owners or the hundreds of millions of owners of gasoline-powered equipment.

“NMMA will continue to evaluate and address policy to protect boaters from misfueling and product failures associated with incompatible fuels and will take the necessary actions to ensure compatible fuels remain available and affordable,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “EPA has failed in each regard and approved E15 in violation of its clear statutory requirements.”