Speaker Pelosi Leads Chorus Calling for Higher Blends of Ethanol

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a growing chorus of voices calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to raise the decades-old, arbitrary limit on the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline from 10 percent (E10) up to 15 percent (E15). When asked about raising the current limit at the National Farmers Union convention, Speaker Pelosi responded saying “I hope so.” Growth Energy submitted a waiver to the EPA last Friday.

Growth Energy’s Green Jobs Waiver does not require a higher blend of ethanol into gasoline but allows up to 15 percent to be blended with gasoline. Gas stations would still be able to sell fuel with lower to no levels of ethanol, depending on the needs of the consumer. It also provides the necessary data to support an immediate move from the agency to 12 or 13 percent while they take the time to evaluate the request for E15.

Support for the Green Jobs Waiver spans governors, Members of Congress and groups across the country. A sample of quotes related to the waiver submission is outlined below.


Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi said that she supported a higher ethanol-to-gasoline blend rate as a way to reduce reliance on petroleum imports and that “It seems to me we should be able to do that,” she stated, after speaking to the National Farmers Union convention.

Senator Harkin (D – IA) stated: “I commend the ethanol companies for submitting this waiver request and hope EPA will move forward expeditiously with a positive ruling,” said Harkin. “This waiver is necessary to open ethanol markets and enable us to stay on a path towards decreasing the use of petroleum-based fuels and increasing the use of alternative biofuels produced from domestic resources.”

Senator John Thune (R – SD) called upon the EPA to act quickly on the waiver request and approve a blend of gasoline up to 15 percent ethanol as soon as possible, as “Higher blends of ethanol can help solve two of the challenges facing our nation: our overdependence on imported oil and the need to expand the use of renewable fuels. Renewable fuels production continues to be an important economic engine for rural America, and moving to higher blends of ethanol is absolutely necessary to keep this industry growing and moving toward advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol.”

Senator Tim Johnson (D – SD) noted that “We need to lessen our dependence on foreign sources of oil by developing alternatives to petroleum-based fuels… Biofuels offer the best near-term solution to accomplishing that goal and increasing production of ethanol and biodiesel need to be at the heart of our energy policy.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D – MN) said the Environmental Protection Agency quickly “needs to raise the amount of ethanol required in regular gasoline to 12 percent or 13 percent with an eventual boost to 15 to 20 percent.”


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated, “We can, we believe, move fairly quickly to move the blend rate to 12 or 13 percent in the interim,” to told a friendly audience of farmers on Monday, adding that it could eventually be boosted to 15 percent or 20 percent.

Broad support poured in from across the mid-west, including from government officials and groups in Indiana, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ohio.


Midwest Secretaries of Agriculture

In a letter to President Obama, the Midwest Secretaries of Agriculture stated:

“For more than 30 years, ethanol has had a positive impact on our economy. Clean, affordable, domestically produced ethanol has enhanced America’s economy through job growth, increased domestic production and a larger tax base. In 2007 alone, the ethanol industry created more than 200,000 American jobs that cannot be exported or outsourced, while contributing $47.6 billion to our GDP and generating $4.6 billion in tax revenues. “



Greg Noble, President, Indiana Ethanol Producers Association

“E15 will lead to direct benefits for farmers and businesses.”

Bruce W. Hosier, Mayor, City of Portland (Indiana)

“The proven credibility and reliability of ethanol development and production has been a viable option towards reducing dependence on foreign oil. Elements that provide a level playing field for the advancement of ethanol as a valuable fuel resource is a common sense approach in helping meet the needs of the citizens we all have the privilege of serving.”



Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture

“Ethanol has proven to have a positive impact on the American economy by creating more jobs, increasing domestic production and adding a larger tax base,” Northey said. “It is important we take the next step to expand the industry by increasing the current ethanol blend of 10 percent, to 15 or 20 percent.”


North Dakota

Bob Carlson, President, North Dakota Farmers Union

“Today’s ethanol is helping to pave the trail for exciting advancements in technology that will lead to more clean, green fuels that can be made from materials like grasses and even algae, in addition to corn,” said, Bob Carlson, President of the North Dakota Farmers Union. “Ethanol is already reducing greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 59 percent over gasoline. Continued advancements could further reduce emissions by as much as 86 percent, but we can’t get there if we continue limiting ethanol production and use.”

Roger Johnson, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner

“Allowing E15 would be good for our economy and our environment. Americans deserve the chance to choose to use more ethanol and less foreign oil. I hope the EPA will act quickly to raise the arbitrary ethanol cap and allow our farmers and ethanol producers the opportunity to rebuild our economy with good, green-collar jobs.”

Randy Schneider, President, North Dakota Ethanol Producers Association

“Higher ethanol blends will allow North Dakota drivers to replace foreign oil with biofuel produced in North Dakota,” said Randy Schneider, President of the North Dakota Ethanol Producers Association. “As our own North Dakota State University research shows, raising the ethanol blend cap means jobs and dollars will stay in America instead of being shipped overseas.”

Mindi Grieve, President, North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy

“Several studies, including some done in North Dakota, show that vehicle performance and engine durability are not affected by E15,” said Mindi Grieve, President of the North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy. “It’s become clear that the arbitrary 10 percent regulatory cap is outdated and nothing more than a cap on jobs and opportunity.”

Jay Nissen, President, North Dakota Corn Growers Association

“North Dakota’s farmers are proud to grow corn to feed our families and fuel our cars,” said Jay Nissen, President of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association. “We stand ready to help reduce our nation’s costly dependence on foreign oil. We hope the EPA will move quickly to allow drivers the option of choosing E15 fuel.”



Dwayne Siekman, Executive Director, Ohio Corn Growers Association

“OCGA is supportive of the efforts to move to higher blend levels of ethanol and is confident that after a comprehensive study by the U.S. EPA, sound science will prevail and the nation can move further towards energy security. Ohio corn growers have shown they are ready for the challenge by continually producing more corn on less land with less inputs and sequestering more carbon than any time in our nation’s history.”


South Dakota

Governor Michael Rounds, South Dakota

“This is a practical move in the right direction. E15 will create thousands of new jobs and increase our tax base while decreasing our dependence for foreign oil. If we are serious about energy independence, EPA needs to act quickly and rule E15 viable for use.”

Bill Chase, President, South Dakota Corn Growers Association

“Allowing the use of higher blends of ethanol in existing fleets would simply give the ethanol industry a little more access to markets the oil industry has always enjoyed,” said Bill Chase, president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. “As corn growers, we fight for markets every day. This market is critically needed for the additional bushels of corn we will produce every year on the same acres.”

“It is critical that the ethanol industry moves beyond the arbitrary 10 percent blend wall. It would bring huge benefits to the U.S. economy by providing good jobs, ensuring a market for next-generation biofuels, providing more cost-effective choices at the pump for consumers, and lessening our dependence on foreign oil.”



Bill Bruins, President, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

“Wisconsin’s farmers stand ready to help reduce our nation’s costly dependence on foreign oil,” said Bill Bruins, President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “Raising the blend cap is a sure way to help our rural communities make it through these difficult times.”

Joshua Morby, Executive Director, Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance

“Higher ethanol blends will allow Wisconsin drivers to replace foreign oil with Wisconsin biofuel. That means jobs and dollars will stay here instead of being shipped overseas,” said Joshua Morby, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance. “Multiple studies show that vehicle performance and engine durability are not affected by E15. The arbitrary 10 percent regulatory cap is nothing more than a cap on jobs and opportunity.”

Sue Beitlich, President, Wisconsin Farmers Union

“Today’s ethanol is helping to pave the trail for exciting advancements in technology that will lead to more clean, green fuels that can be made from materials like grasses, in addition to corn,” said Sue Beitlich, President of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. “Raising the cap will ensure there is a market for both the renewable fuels of today and tomorrow.”


About Growth Energy

Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home. More information can be found at GrowthEnergy.org.