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Coalition seeks fuel standard repeal

A coalition of groups seeking to reform or repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates the use of biofuels such as ethanol, is shopping legislation to the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.

Representatives of organizations ranging from environmental groups and those concerned with hunger in developing nations to taxpayer watchdog groups and refinery representatives participated in a conference call Monday to discuss the negative effects of the Environmental Protection Agency mandate passed in 2005 and strengthened in 2007.

“We have drafted some legislation and we’re circulating it on a limited basis,” National Marine Manufacturers Association legislative director Jim Currie said during the conference call. “We hope to get it introduced sometime in the near future.”

“At this point we’re not prepared to say exactly what the legislation contains,” Currie said during the conference call. “We are open to anything that will prevent the problems that we see looming out there as result of E15 getting out into the marketplace.”

The move comes after a federal appeals court threw out a case brought by the NMMA and other groups to oppose the EPA waiver that would allow E15 to be introduced into the marketplace.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a rehearing on the EPA decision that put E15 — fuel that is 15 percent ethanol — on the market. The NMMA was among the groups petitioning the court to reconsider a dismissal of the appeal in October.

“Inertia is the hardest thing to overcome on Capitol Hill,” Currie said. “Once something is enshrined in statute it is very hard to get it changed, especially when in a case like ethanol there is a significant cadre of members who support it.”