The federal Environmental Protection Agency is delaying a decision on whether to allow higher concentrations of corn-based ethanol to be blended into gasoline. Nebraska is the nation’s number-two ethanol producer, behind only Iowa.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the E-P-A wants more testing done to determine if most vehicles could handle the change from ten to 15-percent ethanol. Grassley says plenty of studies have already concluded, the higher ethanol blend would be just fine.
Grassley says, “This delay is unfounded and irresponsible, especially in light of the horrific oil spills that we have on the Gulf Coast and all of the publicity we’ve got about green energy.” An estimate from the Renewable Fuels Association shows an increase to 15-percent ethanol could replace 200-million barrels of imported oil a year.
“The spill on the Gulf Coast makes it imperative that we look at every alternative to sources of energy beyond finite fossil fuels,” Grassley says. “The fact is, simple steps could be taken in the very near term that would have a real impact on our dependence on foreign oil.” Grassley says many of President Obama’s addresses have stressed the pursuit of alternative fuels and energy sources.
Grassley, a Republican, says he’s going to ask the president to put an immediate plan in place to start pumping 12-percent ethanol and to expedite the 15-percent proposal. “The president has talked often about the need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, something I whole-heartedly agree with him on,” Grassley says. “Actions speak louder than words and the actions of the president have been deathly silent.”
Grassley says he can’t understand why the Obama administration can claim it wants to focus on the benefits of domestic renewable fuels, but based on the EPA’s lack of action, “can allow such a delay by its own bureaucracy.”