A bill to further study the affects of ethanol on the engines of both commercial vehicles and marine engines was approved by the House Science, Space & Technology Committee. The bill, authored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and approved on a party-line vote, requires the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study 15% ethanol/gasoline blends.
The bill was supported by food and agriculture interests, as well as the automobile industry because it will require NAS to identify upgrades or changes to engines necessary because of the fuel blend.
Democrats said the bill "attacks" EPA credibility and will delay a shift to more ethanol use, while supporters said EPA is close to making a final decision on an ethanol industry petition to increase the current mandated blend rate from 10% to 15%. The bill was modified at the last minute to require NAS to report to Congress on its study before EPA can finalize any increase in the blend rate.