The Environmental Protection Agency has granted final approval for sale of 15 percent blended ethanol fuel. Josh Morby with the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance says that’s good news for producers, who’d hit the so-called blend wall, an artificial limit on the amount of ethanol blended into fuel. “By the EPA approving this rule, this creates additional market for Wisconsin producers to sell product,” says Morby. How soon that happens, Morby says, will largely depend on whether or not Wisconsin drivers demand E15. “The biggest challenge we’re going to see is just retailers willing to put the pumps in. And that is going to be driven by the demand of the consumers.”
Not everyone is pleased by the EPA action. Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner is calling for an independent review of whether or not E15 will damage engines. “The EPA may be willing to fast-track E15 at the ethanol lobby’s request, but I believe we have a duty to get the science right. At a minimum, we should block this fuel until examined by an entity with no financial stake, such as the National Academy of Sciences,” says a statement from Sensenbrenner. “Short of that, the EPA is leaving drivers confused and at risk of footing the bill for expensive repairs.”
“It’s really unfortunate that Congresman Sensenbrenner is working against Wisconsin corn growers, and working against people in his congressional district, to limit the choice that consumers have at the pump,” says Morby.