WASHINGTON — Animal agriculture groups, including the American Meat Institute, are voicing support for the Sullivan-Peters amendment to H. 2584, the FY 2012 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from using funds to increase the allowable level of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent (E15).

“For years the corn-ethanol industry has reaped the benefits of a federal mandate, blender’s tax credit and an import tariff on foreign ethanol. Combined, these forms of government support have distorted the corn market, depleted corn supplies and undermined the economic viability of America’s livestock industry. Favoring one segment of agriculture at the expense of another does not benefit agriculture as a whole,” stated the letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The letter mentioned a recent Government Accountability Office report that listed several key challenges to the retail sale of intermediate ethanol blends, such as E15, including compatibility, cost and liability. The report also said that of 10 pending tests on the effects of intermediate blends on automobiles and non-road engines, five still have not concluded. Meanwhile, results from completed studies indicate reductions in fuel economy, higher emissions of pollutants from older vehicles and higher running temperatures of non-road engines causing unintentional clutch engagement — a serious safety threat.

“We support energy independence and the development of the renewable fuels industry. However, more than 30 years of support has created a mature corn-ethanol industry that now needs to compete fairly in the marketplace and allow for the next generation of renewable fuels to grow. We feel appropriated funding for the increased allowable levels of an unproven ethanol blend is definitely a step in the wrong direction,” the letter concluded.