House Republican amendment would block use of higher ethanol blends in vehicles

“My amendment is about consumer safety, plain and simple,” Sullivan said in a statement. “The EPA has completely ignored calls from lawmakers, industry, environmental and consumer groups to address important safety issues raised by the 50% increase in the ethanol mandate waivers issued over the last two years.”

The amendment will please an unlikely coalition of industry groups and environmentalists, who have railed against the proposal. Industry groups cite the potential for misfueling and engine damage, while environmentalists have raised concerns about air pollution from ethanol use.

The ethanol industry quickly came out against the amendment. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said ethanol is an important alternative to oil, given the unrest in the Middle East.

“Denying Americans a choice at the pump is not an energy strategy,” the ethanol trade association said in a statement. “Neither America nor the world can drill itself out of the energy crisis we are facing.”

RFA also criticized an amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would block funds for installing blender pumps, which allow ethanol to be blended into gasoline.

A vote on the House spending bill is expected this week.

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