Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency

EPA to trim ethanol requirements after realizing threat to fuel supply

For the first time in history, the EPA has backed off its requirement to pump as much corn into the fuel supply as possible.

Corn growers and ethanol refiners are balking at the rule as they will certainly see reduced demand for their products, but fuel refiners are cheering the decision stating that if the mix requirement had been left as Congress demanded, fuel supplies would have been unstable and many vehicles would have been exposed to expensive repairs and intolerable fuel economy.

This year, fuel producers would have been required to blend 15.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol into gasoline – a ratio that would have endangered the entire fuel supply.

Instead, 13.2 billion gallons of food-based fuel additives will be burned in vehicles.

Corn ethanol also pushes food prices to ridiculous levels. People eat corn, pigs (pork) eats corn – lots of other things eat corn. Burning corn in gas tanks to appease a smattering of global warming zealots makes no sense.

When Americans realize that the food on their table is more important than a fantastical theory that somehow man can overpower the planet, normalcy may be restored.

House Questions Use of Secret Email Accounts by Obama Administration

Yesterday, the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee released a statement in which they announced their investigation into EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of an email alias and questionable tactics by other Administration departments to prevent disclosure under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Recent reports claimed that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used an alias email address under the name “Richard Windsor” to conduct official Government business.  This reported incident follows similarly secretive and highly questionable methods of communication by senior officials at science agencies within the White House, Department of Commerce (DOC), and Department of Energy (DOE).

Conducting official government business using private accounts is in direct contradiction to Federal law. The only purpose such actions could have is to prevent the tracking and archiving of email traffic that the administration does not want citizens or the press to uncover when they issue requests for email relating to topics.

Members of the committee sent a letter to Ms. Jackson as well as letters to the Inspectors General of the EPA, Department of Commerce, and the Department of Energy asking for information and reviews of how each agency is complying with the federal law. Specifically the letter to Jackson asks for documents detailing the use of alias accounts.

Obama to implement economy-crushing coal regulations after election

WASHINGTON, NOV. 5, 2012 – On September 22, 2011, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, held a hearing with one witness, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lisa P. Jackson, on regulatory reform. At the hearing Stearns predicted that President Obama would not push through controversial environmental regulations before the 2012 election. As Stearns stated then, “issuing such a rule would cause [Obama] severe electoral problems in the next election.” Today, the Washington Times is running a story* on Obama halting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for a “political split second” before tomorrow’s election and then imposing massive coal regulations after the election.

As chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Stearns held a hearing on the EPA’s plans to impose severe regulations on coal development, transportation, and use that would harm the coal industry, cost thousands of jobs, and limit domestic energy production. In response to Stearns’ oversight and the lack of economic growth and job creation, the Obama Administration and the EPA withdrew its regulatory plan. With the election ending tomorrow, the White House and the EPA are preparing anti-coal regulations that are expected to be released at the end of November.

Added Stearns, “According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, regulations cost American taxpayers and businesses $1.8 trillion each year. The looming regulatory burdens at the center of President Obama’s agenda contribute toward the broad uncertainty that prevents economic growth and job creation. I’m proud of my role in exposing the cost of these regulatory schemes, but I cannot be heartened by my prescientprediction that the 2012 election only would delay temporarily these new coal regulations.”

E.P.A. Oversteps Regulatory Authority on Auto Fuels – Groups File to Overturn

Petroleum industry to file suit against EPA on e15 ethanolThe National Petrochemical & Refiners Association joined with the International Liquid Terminals Association and the Western States Petroleum Association to file a law suit intended to overturn a recent regulatory overreach by the Obama Administration.

The E15 Proposal and Granted Waiver

In March of 2009, Growth Energy and several other alternative fuels organizations petitioned the EPA to have E15 introduced for use in vehicles not specifically modified to deal with the caustic nature of ethyl alcohol (ethanol).  In October, the Environmental Protection Agency bowed to the corn-to-fuel lobby and granted a partial waiver allowing for the use of E15 (15%) ethanol fuels in all vehicles newer than 2007.

Misfueling, the accidental fueling of a vehicle with the incorrect fuel, is a serious concern.  The cost to repair a fuel system once ethanol has done its damage is considerable.  The EPA web site mentions that they are working on a way to reduce misfueling, but they aren’t holding this waiver until that solution is drawn up.

..the EPA is concurrently issuing a proposed rule with the express purpose of reducing the potential for misfueling of E15 into vehicles, engines, and products for which it is not approved.  If finalized, this rule will satisfy the misfueling mitigation conditions of today’s partial waiver.

The Next Step for the EPA is Older Vehicles

The EPA waiver also discusses 2001-2006 vehicles.

EPA is deferring a decision on MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles.  DOE is in the process of conducting additional catalyst durability testing that will provide data regarding MY2001-2006 motor vehicles.  The DOE testing is scheduled to be completed by the end of November 2010.  EPA will make the DOE test results available to the public and consider the results and other available data and information in making a determination on E15 for use in those model year motor vehicles.

Problems With Ethanol 15 and higher

Only catalyst durability testing?  That will only prove whether or not the fuel is stable.  What about engine durability testing?  While ethanol’s instability is certainly a concern, fuel system components made for gasoline do not react well with corn-alcohol (ethanol).  A 50% increase in the amount of ethanol in fuels will cause failure of fuel hosing, pumps, seals and possibly injection/carbeuration.   An article at Hagerty.com relays the problem that ethanol presents to older vehicles:

  • Corrosion caused by contact between two dissimilar metals when the metals are in contact with an electrolyte, like ethanol. It looks like this.
  • Rubber components like fuel hoses, carburetor seals and gaskets, and fuel pump seals may be hardened, dissolved or distorted by contact with ethanol. This may lead to fuel leaks.
  • Ethanol holds water very readily and can expose fuel system components and steel gas tanks to rust. This is especially prevalent in boats.
  • Even low concentrations of ethanol have been shown to damage fiberglass fuel tanks. Ethanol dissolves the lining of fiberglass fuel tanks, often depositing a dark “sludge” inside marine engines causing costly damage. Eventually, fiberglass tanks dissolve until they fail, leaking fuel.
  • Metal parts, such as in-tank fuel pumps and carburetor floats, may be subject to pitting, rust or corrosion when in contact with ethanol blends.

The only way to prevent this damage is to replace fuel system components with ethanol-safe parts or buy a newer vehicle with the flex-fuel designation.  Either way, Americans will be yet again saddled with the cost of the progressive agenda.

Having to upgrade your fuel system or buy a new car are expensive enough, but even according to the government site FuelEconomy.gov it’s evident that higher ethanol content will also have you paying even more for a gallon of fuel.

FFVs experience no loss in performance when operating on E85. However, since ethanol contains less energy per volume than gasoline, FFVs typically get about 25-30% fewer miles per gallon when fueled with E85.

So your 30 mpg turns to 20-23mpg on E85.  Perhaps you only lose 3-4mpg with E15, but that’s after you just spent money to upgrade your fuel system or the entire car.  Upgrade costs, lower mileage, and it will further increase the price pressure on corn as more corn fields are turned into fuel.  That means the less-efficient, fuel-system destroying fuel will also cost more.

The Suit Against the EPA

It would be easy to look at the petroleum industry’s suit as a special interest protecting their profits.  If that’s the position taken than one must also agree that Green Growth and tons of other corn-to-fuel businesses lobbied the EPA to put this waiver in place.  It’s one fuel provider against another.

The real concern should be how the waiver was obtained.  At least the petroleum industry lawyers are attacking the proper problem, regulatory overreach.  While those involved in the suit will file written arguments in coming weeks, they had this much to say in a January 3rd press release:

NPRA and the other organizations today filed a petition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review and overturn the EPA decision, contending EPA violated the Clean Air Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The lawsuit by the groups will argue that EPA does not have authority under the Clean Air Act to approve a partial waiver that allows the use of E15 in some engines but not in others.

In addition, the lawsuit will contend that EPA based its partial waiver decision on new data submitted to the public rulemaking docket on the day before EPA announced the partial waiver, providing no time for the stakeholder review or meaningful public comment required under the Administrative Procedure Act.

This is exactly the same kind of circumvention of American law and process that the FCC used to put it’s tyrannical control of the internet in place.  Perhaps the courts are the last hope to protect American citizens from a government bent on even more control.