The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) commended the Congress and President for enacting the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The bill contains an amendment to the Clean Air Act, strongly supported by OPEI, that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test new fuels and fuel additives before they are brought to market.
"The OPEI supports the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels, but in order to protect consumers, we must ensure that new fuels won't cause existing equipment to malfunction or cause injury," said Kris Kiser, OPEI vice president of Public Affairs. "Requiring EPA to test the impact of new fuels before they are introduced will improve air quality and help protect millions of Americans who use gas-powered vehicles and equipment that are not designed to use mid-level ethanol blends."
The bill modifies Section 211(f)(4) of the Clean Air Act by improving the new fuel and fuel additive waiver review process, which is performed by EPA. During the process, EPA tests new fuel or fuel additives to ensure they would not cause or contribute to the failure of engines, vehicles or equipment and to ensure they meet evaporative and exhaust emission standards. Previously, if EPA did not act on a fuels waiver request within 180 days of its submission, the application was deemed granted, even in the absence of EPA action or consideration of the application's merits.
The amendment requires EPA to make a timely decision, subject to public notice and comment, after building a complete, technical record on the merits of a new fuel. Pursuant to the amendment, EPA must make new fuel waiver decisions a priority and approve or deny petitions within 270 days of receiving a waiver application.