WASHINGTON – President Bush has signed into law energy legislation passed earlier this week by Congress that will mandate an increase of renewable fuel use nationwide, and includes a National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)-supported provision that requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to thoroughly review new fuels prior to approving them for sale, NMMA reported in a statement yesterday.
The energy bill expands the Renewable Fuel Standard — the amount of renewable fuel such as ethanol required to be in the national gasoline supply — to 9 billion gallons in 2008 and increases it to 36 billion gallons by 2022, according to the association.
In light of this new requirement, NMMA said it sought and achieved a provision in the bill that strengthens the EPA approval process by requiring the agency to ensure that mid-level ethanol fuels will not increase emissions from recreational marine engines or damage boat fuel systems and components.
Without this provision, a patchwork of fuel blends could have been approved without a thorough review of the safety and environmental impact by the EPA, according to NMMA. Mid-level ethanol blends are known to cause substantial damage to recreational marine engines, leading to engine and systems failures which include emissions control devices.
“It’s important in the race for renewable energy that we not compromise on boating safety through the introduction of new fuel formulations that marine engines are not calibrated to safely use,” said Scott Gudes, vice president for NMMA government relations.
Boat engines are not designed or calibrated to run above E10, and higher concentrations of ethanol can cause damage to marine engines and fuel systems, and potentially cause emission control devices required by federal law to fail, the association explained.
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