Energy & Environment

Senate panel won’t vote on bill to boost ethanol

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A Senate committee won’t hold a vote next week on legislation that would have allowed higher ethanol concentrations in some gasoline.

The legislation had been pushed for months by corn-state senators like Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), but they were having trouble getting the support they needed.

“The legislation does not have the support necessary to pass the committee,” said Mike Danylak, spokesman for Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

{mosads}The panel has a scheduled business meeting to vote on certain matters next week. Supporters had been pushing for the ethanol bill to be included in that meeting, but it is now not going to be on the agenda.

The Senate is three weeks away from its August recess, so it is unclear if the vote will happen before then.

The bill would have allowed sales of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, also known as E15, year-round.

Environmental Protection Agency standards currently limit ethanol blends to 10 percent ethanol during the summer months due to concerns about air pollution.

Fischer and other ethanol backers say the legislation would increase the use of a clean, domestic fuel, and that air quality concerns are overblown.

The oil industry and some environmental groups joined numerous senators in fighting back. Among other arguments, they say it would further the environmental concerns of ethanol, including those related to air pollution and land use.

Ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy said the news was disappointing, but it will not give up on the E15 matter.

“We are disappointed the Environment and Public Works committee decided not to consider the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act before August recess,” Emily Skor, the group’s CEO, said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with our bipartisan sponsors to enact this bill to provide drivers across the country cleaner fuel options year-round that are better for the environment and save Americans money every time they fill up the gas tank.”

Brianna Puccini, spokeswoman for Fischer, said the senator will also keep working with her colleagues to obtain support for the measure.

Tags Deb Fischer Ethanol John Barrasso John Thune

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