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Congressmen Defend EPA Approval of E15

With EPA approval of E15, some groups are questioning its safety.

Published on: Jun 5, 2012

Four bipartisan Iowa congress members authored a letter to the Coordinating Research Council Monday, calling its study on E15 "significantly flawed."

The study, released last month, showed adverse effects to engines while using E15. Some of the problems reported included failed valve seats, which can cause high fuel use and higher than normal emissions.

Study concludes engine harm from E15, but ethanol groups question its accuracy.
Study concludes engine harm from E15, but ethanol groups question its accuracy.

Challenging the study's accuracy, congress members Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley, Steve King, Tom Latham and Dave Loebsack wrote in the letter to the CRC that the study "does little to address our nation's need for clean renewable fuel that lowers the price at the pump and creates jobs here at home."

The letter also included a response to the study from the Department of Energy, which stated, "We believe the choice of test engines, test cycle, limited fuel selection, and failure criteria of the CRC program resulted in unreliable and incomplete data, which severely limits the utility of the study."

The letter also highlighted several comments from the Department of Energy website, which said the CRC study failed to establish a proper control group—a "standard component of scientific, data-driven testing."

The letter cited several other "flaws" in the CRC study, including the CRC's selection of engines known to have durability issues as presented by previous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recalls, as well as the use of a test cycle to specifically stress the engine valve train.

The congressmen closed off the letter by writing, "Americans overwhelmingly want greater choice at the pump. E15 gives consumers a lower-cost and more energy-secure domestic fuel option."

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association issued a statement commending the congress members for their response to the CRC study. IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw called E15 "the most tested fuel in history," and said the CRC study was "purposefully designed to fail."