January 3, 2013
The boating industry, including boat manufacturers, dealers, marina operators, and boat yards, has been voicing strong concerns in Washington for the past couple of years that ethanol blends in gasoline used in recreational boating have caused considerable damage to engines and fuel systems. The damage is significant in that it can severely impact boating safety when families are left stranded on the water due to breakdowns. Other groups in DC have also joined the struggle, including small power equipment manufacturers, restaurants, fuel manufacturers, trucking companies, and farm animal associations. A newly formed coalition, called the Smarter Fuel Future Coalition, has brought these groups together. Visit their Web site at www.smarterfuelfuture.org for more information and to join.At a coalition meeting on Dec. 10, the members agreed on a tentative action plan to begin in 2013 that will culminate in the introduction of bills in the House and Senate and Congressional hearings. The coalition wants to continue to build membership to support its outreach plans with the press, but the real action will come with advocacy events in D.C. beginning as early as the first quarter with Hill issue briefings in the House and Senate where the problems of ethanol blends will be presented to staff and members.Plans also include working with key Congressional committees to schedule hearings to document the effects of ethanol on key segments of the economy. All the action plans will be focused on support for the introduction and movement of bills on ethanol reform. It is anticipated that several members will introduce bills, but the key ones will totally repeal ethanol blends in gasoline and limit ethanol production to current levels of E10.
The next coalition meeting will be held in January to further plan for the Hill Issue Briefing. Ethanol reform is one of MRAA’s highest legislative priorities for 2013.