By on November 9, 2010

We’ve been tracking mounting opposition to E15 ethanol for some time now, and when the EPA approved the 15-percent corn juice blend for vehicles made in 2007 or later, we saw the opposition begin to crystalize. Now, the Detroit News reports that a number of oil, food and other interest groups have filed suit in a D.C. Circuit appeals court, seeking to halt the EPA’s approval of E15. According to the DetN

The petitioners argue that under the Clean Air Act, the EPA administrator may only grant a waiver for a new fuel additive if it “will not cause or contribute to a failure of any emission control device or system.”

They believe the “EPA has unlawfully interpreted the statute to achieve a particular outcome,” but EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said it was based on “sound science.”

Considering the approval was apparently based on study results from a mere 14 vehicles, it sounds like the industry groups might have a solid point here. Especially when you realize that a major motivation for E15 approval is from the fact that blenders couldn’t sell enough E10 to meet government mandates. As the video above (from June of this year) proves, the political tail has wagged the scientific dog on ethanol ever since the farm lobby realized that ethanol could be the next corn syrup. With any luck, this lawsuit could just be the point at which science re-asserts itself.

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20 Comments on “Oil, Food Industry Groups Sue To Stop E15 Ethanol...”


  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Never mind the impact on older cars, never mind the loss of MPG from using E10, let alone E15, never mind the increased food prices for both grain based and meat based products, never mind the two-billion people that live hand to mouth on this planet, never mind the energy, water, and chemicals that go into making ethanol, and never mind that it is utterly destructive to small engines, boat motors, and two-cycle engines that can’t cope with a 15% ethanol blend.
     
    WE NEED TO SAVE THE PLANET!!!  Buy more ethanol, that is the green answer.  Bah!

  • avatar
    tced2

    The groups should have gotten the opinion of Carol Browner (aka “the environment czar”) who is actually running the EPA.  When you are a “czar”, opinions of others (like scientists, engineers, or economists) isn’t required.

  • avatar
    stationwagon

    Its the damn corn lobby, hell they already get a ton of subsidies. Don’t think it is a collection of rural Iowa farmer, it is made up of conagra and monsanto and other giant corporations.

  • avatar

    who is this ethanol swilling suit, and which company(s) is(are) bankrolling him?

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    I have to dump either regular Sta-Bil ($7) or marine Sta-Bil ($15) into the gas for each of my 7 small gas motors after they added alcohol to the gas. If/when I fail to do so, it’s well over $100 in carburetor repairs.
     
    All three cars get 7-10% worse mileage instead of the 3-5% worse I am told I should get.
     
    Yea, tell me again how I’m saving money and saving the planet.
     

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    In a few years, we’ll look back on ethanol and HFCS in the way we look at leaded gas and tobacco now.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Off topic, actually a followup to a topic from yesterday, psarhj, here’s one for you.

      “www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html?iref=obnetwork”

      Lotsa HFCS.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      Is high-fructose corn syrup worse than sugar? All I’ve seen says no. The only reason foodmakers use corn syrup as a sweetener is that sugar is so expensive in the US — four times the world market price. Thanks to the government.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    BMW/Mini is already using the “crappy gas” excuse to weasel out of warranty repairs, I’m pretty sure their warranty stipulates a maximum of 10 percent alcohol.   I don’t have a reflexive antipathy to government mandates, but this one is just stupid and harmful.

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    Maybe this E15 waiver mess will be the “tipping point” for the whole ethanol-is-good-for-the-planet mantra that’s been coming out of DC for years. A few questions for our legislators who know more about how the world works than us common citizens do: if we use (slightly) less imported oil, do the wells in the Middle East slow down?, and does our (slightly) decreased reliance on imported oil really reduce our dependence? The answer of course is ‘no’ on both counts. The wells still run full-tilt (our “reduction” goes to India or China instead), unstable countries still get money (it’s just not US$), and we’re stuck converting at least 0.8 gallons of farm tractor and truck diesel (and who knows how many gallons of water) into 1.0 gallons of ethanol. Hurray for US!

    Add to that all of the untold damage to small engines, classic cars, and motorcycles (really, anything that sits for more than a few months is susceptible to fuel system damage from ethanol), and what’s the true cost of this little corn-fed misadventure? I think it’s time for politicians to fess up and tell the truth.
     

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    Jack, you need to get on this. They’re going to screw up your E15 Challenge.

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    Quite obviously the drive for E15 is being driven by the agricultural lobby, the corn farmers (who already get a tremendous amount of subsidies) and companies like Monsanto, Con Agra and
    the like.  Perhaps a better source of ethanol lies in swatch grass and sugar cane, but these
    obviously don’t have the agricultural lobby behind them.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    It looks like we’ve traded OPEC for CORNPEC.

  • avatar
    fred schumacher

    Will everybody please stop eating beef, and pork, and chicken. By far the greatest use of corn is as animal feed. Even the byproducts of ethanol production are fed to animals. And while you’re at it, please tell people in the developing world to stop eating those animals too, since our corn exports are encouraging their addiction also. It’s all that meat eating that is destroying our soil. Then, when you’ve all become vegetarians, we can talk about ethanol.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      No thank you. While I’ve ‘evolved’ to a more Mediterranean diet, I still want meat. IIRC, Americans eat 300# per year, more than anyone else. I expect that will change as a more prosperous rest of the world bids for grain and meat.
      Food-based ethanol fuel is stupid – imprudent and uneconomical – whether I eat meat or not. Now drinking it is another story entirely.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Fred: well said. We spend far more resources in growing (?) meat than on anything else in the US. The energy and water, vast amounts of both we put into growing the feed alone.  Why not harvest the alcohols from the sugars and then let the animals have the proteins that are left over? The proteins are what is valuable anyway.
       
      I too, am eating less meat these days, partly for dietary reasons, the other for economic reasons not related to my household. That aside, if we’re serious about reducing oil consumption for transportation, there are other methods of creating ethanol, and more importantly oil surrogates, like waste to crude oil operations. I believe when those are ramped up, would create motor fuels more efficiently than the current arrangements.
       
      I’m all for more ethanol, but I’d like mine in the form of a good single malt scotch. My car can burn the stuff made anaerobically from bacteria.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      I eat lots of fish but I almost never eat red meat or chicken/turkey now, except for the Thanksgiving type dinners. I still prefer my girlfriends to be corn-fed though.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Instapundit has a timely link to a Financial Times article at
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/249211fc-ec1d-11df-9e11-00144feab49a.html#axzz14tbLw83n
    which requires free registration. Jist is that the US is warning on corn crop shortfalls and record soybean exports to China. The Russians didn’t do so well this year, either. We’ve lived in benign times for a few decades and can’t count on that good fortune continuing indefinitely. That’s without considering various blights and rusts and insect infestations. Every now and then, you get a Black Swan event.
    The ongoing devaluation of the dollar masks the true effect on US food prices, but people are noticing.
     

  • avatar
    red60r

    It sorta hurts to agree with any industry lobbies of any kind, but they are on the right side by chance in this one. E10 destroyed some of the fuel plumbing in my Volvo 850, making it reek like a distillery when parked in the summer. My snow blower and lawn mower won’t start any more because of ethanol poisoning. Corn is for eating; alcohol is for amusement.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Great so now after screwing up all my small engines devices, lowering the fuel mileage on my 2008 Impala, increasing the prices of everything made with corn and they are now after my older cars too by conveniently making them not run well right! The govt would love nothing more than to see the older cars wiped off the face of the earth because they may be contributing to .000000001% of the imaginary pollution in the world and causing ficticious Global Warming! When is this lunacy tree hugging green bullshitt going to stop?


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