The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it is postponing its decision whether to allow for the blending of up to 15% ethanol in conventional gasoline. Growth Energy made the request to raise the blend wall to E15 in May and Dec. 1 was the deadline for EPA to make a ruling, but they say they need additional time for more testing. Growth Energy did receive a letter from EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy this week.
"It's basically a positive answer," Growth Energy Co-Chairman General Wesley Clark said. "They've done some tests and they have a number of tests left to go, and they've said if the continuing tests show like the two that have been completed we will be moving to E15."
Growth Energy President and CEO Tom Buis says they feel good about the certainty of a firm decision by the middle of next year and the EPA's acknowledgement that the tests thus far are very positive for moving to E15.
"Obviously we would have liked for all the testing completed in 270 days. Would we have liked to have had the decision completely finalized right now? Certainly," Clark said. "We think that going to E15 is the right way, and if we have to wait for these studies, let's wait for them and let's get going. Let's prepare for it because those studies are confirming what other studies have shown for years that E15 is not a problem."
Buis said if Growth Energy hadn't filed this waiver as some had suggested this decision would be years away rather than months. He went on to say that it is time to send some strong signals on behalf of renewable energy.
"For the past 35 years it seems like our nation gets all excited about moving into renewable energy when we have a crisis and then we go back to sleep," Buis said. "Well we need to think long term, and really send a signal to move forward. We know we can do it; ethanol is the only alternative to foreign oil in any quantity. We can produce it, we know we can meet the requirements so let's move forward and get down the road."
To hear remarks Buis and Clark made during a conference call Tuesday use the audio player above.