NMMA, Engine Manufacturers File Suit on E15 Decision

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) today filed suit in the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging an October 13, 2010 decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to partially approve E15 for a subset of on-highway motor vehicles. NMMA is joining the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM) in a newly-formed coalition — the Engine Products Group (EPG) — in pursuing this legal challenge. Vann Ness Feldman will serve as counsel.

“NMMA regrets having to pursue litigation on this matter, but it is clear that EPA has not fulfilled its statutory obligations to ensure the safe introduction of E15,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “Consequently, we and our industry partners have determined that it is necessary to seek relief in the courts in order to protect our manufacturers and our consumers.”

“Throughout this process, NMMA has strongly and consistently urged full scientific testing on marine engines and equipment, as required by law, and the rational evaluation of policy mechanisms to protect consumers from misfueling and product failures associated with incompatible fuels, and regulatory actions to ensure that compatible fuels remain available and affordable,” said Dammrich. “EPA has failed in each regard and approved E15 in contravention of its clear statutory requirements.”

The suit requests judicial oversight and review over whether EPA's “partial waiver” approval for E-15 fuels violates the US federal Clean Air Act provisions, which expressly limit the circumstances under which EPA can approve applications for new fuels and fuel additives.

Growth Energy, an ethanol industry trade group, petitioned the EPA in March 2009 to raise the limit on ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. Several engine product and auto manufacturers as well as others urged EPA to be deliberative in its review process, assuring thorough and adequate testing to assure that E-15 would not harm existing products or pose safety risks. By approving E-15 use in a small subset of engines on the road, ritics believe there is a significant risk that consumers will unknowingly or mistakenly put E-15 in products for which it has not been approved.