Midwest governors voice support for E15

By Erin Voegele | July 08, 2009
Report posted July 17, 2009, at 11:05 a.m. CST

Ten governors representing the Midwest Governors Association (MGA) recently issued a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson voicing their support for the E15 waiver currently being considered by the agency.

According to the letter, the current E10 blend limit significantly hinders the nation's ability to meet the long-term and intermediate targets of the renewable fuels standard (RFS), which sets a goal of using 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022. In order to meet this goal and transition to advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, the governors said that the U.S. must continue to support the expanded use of conventional biofuels.

"Stifling the growth of conventional ethanol undermines the goal of making cellulosic ethanol a commercial reality," the letter stated. "Unjustified criticism of conventional efforts also stymies the development of advanced biofuels. Increasing the blend limits will expand the use of ethanol and provide support for the transition to next generation biofuels. Additionally, increasing our use of domestic energy sources, including ethanol, decreases our dependence on overseas oil."

The letter cited EPA analysis that has shown that the increased use of biofuels, such as ethanol, will reduce traditional car pollutants such as benzene and carbon monoxide. It also refered to U.S. DOE research that has shown corn ethanol can decrease lifecycle greenhouse gas emission by 19 percent, while cellulosic ethanol reduces emissions by 86 percent.

In addition to approving the waiver, the governors also requested that the EPA work with manufacturers of gasoline powered products to clarify the feasibility of expanding their warranties to include increased ethanol blend levels of up to 15 percent.

According to the governors, the ethanol industry - like many other sectors of the economy - is facing difficult financial times. In the letter, the governors stated that immediate action is necessary to ensure that this domestic energy industry is preserved. "Despite the economic urgency for a decision, the granting of the waiver would be neither capricious nor impulsive, as the science and rationale for increasing the blend wall upwards of 15 percent are already in place," the governors stated in the letter.

"Increasing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline is an important step that will have dramatic, positive effects on advancement of the renewable fuels industry," South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds said. "In addition to economic benefits, increased use of ethanol and biofuels will lead to greater energy independence by utilizing homegrown commodities, materials and technologies."

The letter was signed by Rounds, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Iowa Gov. Chester J. Culver, Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.