Democrat protests exclusion of EPA, DOE from House E15 hearing

Representatives from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy should have been invited to testify at a hearing examining potential problems from EPA’s allowing gasoline with a 15% ethanol blend into the US market, the ranking minority member of a US House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee suggested.

Witnesses representing the Coordinating Research Council, American Automobile Association, and National Motorcycle Association all told the committee’s Environment subcommittee that tests EPA asked DOE to conduct did not adequately address potential hazards of widespread E15 use.

“Although I agree that EPA should not base decisions on incomplete information, neither should this committee,” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) said in her opening statement.

Bonamici expressed concern that the American Petroleum Institute and automakers funded research being used to refute EPA’s science leading up to its decision to grant E15 waivers. “Also, because [DOE] conducted the research on which EPA based its decision, it’s important to note that the majority invited neither [DOE] nor [EPA] to discuss the science and extensive testing on which EPA based its decision,” she said.

Democrats were given adequate opportunity to invite an additional witness, according to the subcommittee’s vice-chairman Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), who ran the hearing.

Witness Mike Leister, a CRC board member and a senior fuels policy advisor at Marathon Petroleum Corp., confirmed that the research organization gets about two thirds of its funding from API and automakers, with the remainder coming from outside organizations on a project-by-project basis.

‘Not as extensive’

“We don’t fault the tests DOE ran for EPA or how they were done,” Leister told the subcommittee. “We only say they were not as extensive as the tests automakers run on a variety of fuels with a wide range of models on which CRC modeled its tests.”

CRC developed and funded a comprehensive multiyear testing program shortly after the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act became law and has spent close to $14 million studying midlevel ethanol fuel blends ever since, Leister said. DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory were involved in the program’s early stages, he added.

“When EPA asked for its help, DOE decided to do a catalyst emissions test, which is not very strenuous and certainly does not reflect normal driving conditions,” Leister said. “EPA did its analysis of the results and appeared under a lot of pressure. As we brought problems we found to its attention, it appeared less inclined to listen.”

He said as CRC continued its tests, it discovered that E15 and E20 could cause excessive engine vale and seat wear under certain driving conditions in some existing vehicles; and that there was an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel level measurement systems in some tested vehicles.

“CRC believes that the research demonstrates that millions of the vehicles, engines and components in the current US vehicle fleet could be damaged by E15,” Leister said.

Can void warranties

Wayne Allard, vice-president, government relations, for the American Motorcycle Association, said the organization believes more extensive independent testing needs to be completed before E15 becomes more widely available. “To the best of our knowledge, E15 is not approved for use in any original-equipment motorcycles or [all-terrain vehicles],” he told the subcommittee. “In fact, its use can void manufacturers’ warranties.”

Allard, who was a Republican US senator from Colorado from 1997 through 2008, noted that while EPA has not yet approved the use of E15 on motorcycles and ATVs, the AMA believes it will reduce fuel efficiency and possibly cause premature engine failure. “In offroad engines, the effects can even be dangerous for users,” he added.

Robert L. Darbelnet, president of AAA, said that the federation of US and Canadian motor clubs stands by its November call for EPA to suspend E15’s marketplace rollout until its impact on vehicles becomes clear and basic consumer education and protection thresholds are met.

“AAA is not opposed to ethanol,” he explained. “We are concerned with the way that this one particular blend has been brought to market and is being sold to consumers. AAA believes that ethanol blended fuels have the potential to provide drivers a welcome choice at the pump that supports American jobs, promotes American energy independence, and can save Americans money.

“In order to realize these benefits, it is imperative that increased ethanol blends are only brought to market when consumers have been clearly informed and protected,” Darbelnet said. EPA’s effort to bring E15 into the US motor fuels marketplace has not met this requirement, he told the subcommittee.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

SIBUR plans MTBE expansion at Togliattikauchuk

07/01/2015 Russian conglomerate OAO SIBUR Holding, Moscow, has started preparatory work for a project designed to expand production capacity for methyl tertia...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...
White Papers

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected