Last week, at the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s (OWAA) annual conference, Jeff Wasil, head of Emissions Testing and Certification at BRP Evinrude Product Development Center, and John McKnight, NMMA Senior Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety, participated on a panel examining the Renewable Fuel Standard program and the increasing volume of ethanol in the market place. OWAA’s conference provides outdoor groups, businesses, and agencies that are involved in the world of outdoor recreation with an opportunity learn and discuss pressing issues with others in the industry.
During the session – titled “Examining the Ethanol Mandate” – Jeff Wasil discussed the industry’s concerns regarding the spread of E15 across the country and the need to explore safer and better biofuel alternatives like biobutanol. Additionally, Wasil called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to mandate the continued availability of E10 and bolster efforts to better educate and protect consumers from the dangers of E15.
John McKnight began his remarks by explaining why oxygenated fuels were first introduced into the U.S. fuel supply. McKnight explained that in order to meet the oxygenate requirements in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, fuel refiners began adding MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) to gasoline.
MTBE has a distinct odor, and due to leaking underground storage tanks, began showing up in drinking water wells. Ethanol was an inexpensive oxygenate with a readily available feedstock (corn) and quickly replaced MTBE in summertime non-attainment areas.
Wasil and McKnight were joined on the panel by Doug Berven, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at POET, and David DeGennaro, Agriculture Policy Specialist at the National Wildlife Federation.