Is ethanol now the “biofuels Solyndra?”

posted at 3:31 pm on June 2, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

In yet another example of talking out of both sides of their mouths, the Obama administration is facing criticism for pushing biofuels in the form of an E-15 fuel approval for the EPA while raising barriers to domestic, conventional fuel exploration initiatives. The major problems of the pending E-15 approval were pointed out this week by Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner.

Ready or not, here it comes.

At least that is the message from the ethanol lobby about E15, gasoline with 15 percent ethanol. Ethanol producers are in the process of clearing the final requirements to increase the amount of ethanol in our gas…

EPA has continued to ignore significant contrary evidence that shows E15 can cause engine damage, and that mound of evidence is growing. The Coordinating Research Council just released a study that shows E15 can cause engine damage even in new cars. I have contacted the EPA to determine if it still believes the fuel will not damage engines, and I am eagerly awaiting that response.

What sort of engine damage are we talking about? Just check out this study from the CRC released in April. As many as five million cars in the current fleet on the road could suffer from premature system failures by burning the higher levels of ethanol in the E-15 mix. So why do it?

Well, one possible reason is that it might stave off the “danger” of exploring our rich oil and gas reserves. American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President Charles T. Drevna testified before a House Committee this week on precisely why the current administration’s policies are cutting off our nose to spite our face.

“While the Obama administration claims to support an ‘all of the above’ approach to U.S. energy, its actions do not always match its rhetoric, and its approach would be more aptly characterized as ‘all of the above, but nothing below.’ The policies of the administration and EPA continue to support a war on fossil fuels that ultimately harms consumers, workers, the economy and our country’s national security.

“The United States has the ability to secure its long-term energy security through a combination of ingenuity and the right policy choices. The administration should allow the oil and natural gas industry to fully develop onshore and offshore resources on federal lands, streamline and expedite the leasing and permitting processes, and immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The government’s role should not be to manage the industry; it should work to provide an environment that facilitates growth while balancing the costs and benefits of proposed regulations. AFPM urges Congress and the administration to consider the cumulative impact of new regulations prior to imposing them, to examine the effectiveness and cost of existing regulations, and to eliminate regulations that hamper American energy producers.”

This is smoke and mirrors and nothing more. For the party which supposedly loves science and claims that Republicans hate it, the EPA and Obama’s energy team seem more dedicated than ever to shutting down a solution to an obvious problem while making campaign trail speeches about supporting the precise opportunities they oppose through regulatory fiat. It would be a fairly clever trick if it weren’t so easy to see the cards hidden up their sleeves.


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