E15 approval welcome for national interest

Monday, June 18, 2012

It seems over-zealous regulators and outright opponents have dragged out the issue as long as they can, and finally had to give up and allow us to pump an additional 5 percent of alcohol into our gas tanks.

The final hurdle was approval of a "Misfueling Mitigation Plan" which will primarily amount to placing a sticker warning you that it is illegal to pump gasoline with 15 percent alcohol into vehicles older than 2001, and the fuel may harm other types of moters, plus paperwork and a survey for the dealers.

Considering the political, economic, environmental and military implications of attempting to maintain our national oil supply, it is hard to see justification for discouraging the use of ethanol.

As proponents point out:

* No fuel blend has been tested as thoroughtly as E15 -- it's been under study for three years.

* E15 will reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 7 billion gallons annually.

* E15 will create up to 136,000 American jobs that can't be outsourced.

* E15 will improve our environment by producing 59 percent fewer harmful emissions.

"Today, the last significant federal hurdle has been cleared to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15)," said Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agriculture Secretary.

"This gets us one step closer to giving American consumers a real choice at the pump. The public has a right to choose between imported oil and home-grown energy, and today's action by the Environmental Protection Agency advances that goal."

"Today's action proves yet again that renewable biofuels are are not a dream of the future, but are a reality, and are making a difference today."

In pushing for EPA approval of E15, Sen. Ben Nelson noted that Nebraska is the nation's second largest producer of ethanol, with 24 active ethanol production plants and a combined capacity of more than 2 billion gallons of the 13 billion produced nationwide annually.

A 2009 study by the Nebraska Public Power Distric found that the indirect impact of the ethanol industry has created more than 3,000 jobs and $3 billion in economic activity in Nebraska.

Yes, increased alcohol fuel isn't for every vehicle, and the decreased cost at the pump is offset somewhat by slightly poorer mileage.

But the advantages for our national economy and security more than offset those disadvantages.

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