Boaters speak out on E15 testing

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- In the battle to add up to 50 percent more ethanol to the nation's gas supply without first providing scientific evidence it won't harm boat engines or cause serious safety issues, America's recreational boaters have spoken.

Of the over 22,000 Americans who have emailed President Obama in the last 13 days urging him to stop the EPA from approving the increase, BoatUS reports that nearly three-fourths of those emails are from BoatUS members and other recreational boaters.

"On the very first day there were over 11,000 emails sent to the President that were generated through the FollowTheScience.org website attributed to BoatUS members and their friends," BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich said. "This shows our boat-owning membership is very worried about this issue and wants to see independent testing completed first. We hope their grassroots activism has an impact on this decision."

A wide-ranging coalition of groups behind FollowtheScience.org created the email campaign in anticipation of the EPA's decision -- expected in just a few days -- that is likely to announce the authorization of increased ethanol in the nation's fuel supply.

Why are boaters speaking out so strongly?

Large numbers of boaters have been impacted by 10 percent ethanol in their gasoline, which was rolled out nationwide a few years ago. A solvent, ethanol can degrade fuel systems and harm boat engines. BoatUS members have reported engine breakdowns, some leading to expensive repairs and potential safety issues.

"Boaters have already been left holding the bag once when ethanol was introduced at 10 percent (E10)," Podlich said. "With no recourse, our members were forced to use a fuel that affected the reliability of their engines."

Working on behalf of over 500,000 members, BoatUS had previously asked the EPA to see the science first. However, to date no independent testing of marine engines with the use of "mid-level" ethanol blends (up to 15 percent) has been completed. Most boat engine warranties are void when using ethanol beyond the 10 percent blend level.

BoatUS continues to urge recreational boaters or anyone with gas-powered equipment or vehicles to go to www.BoatUS.com/gov and let President Obama know your concerns about ethanol and ask him to require the EPA to complete testing and get the science first.

BoatUS is part of FollowTheScience.org, a coalition of 46 motor sports, environmental, food and citizen advocate groups asking for "science first" before the EPA allows a new fuel on the market. BoatUS is also a member of AllSAFE, the Alliance for a Safe Alternative Fuels Environment.