A coalition of livestock producer organizations, including the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), sent a letter last week to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to express support for an amendment to the fiscal 2012 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using federal taxpayer monies to increase the allowable level of ethanol in gasoline to 15% (E15) from its current 10%.

The amendment is being sponsored by Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK) and Gary Peters (D-MI). The groups pointed out that the Government Accountability Office issued a report last month that listed several challenges to the retail sale of intermediate ethanol blends such as E15. The compatibility of E15 with current underground infrastructure, the cost of developing and implementing new storage and dispensing equipment, and the liability associated with consumers misfueling vehicles and engines built before 2001 were cited as potential problems.

While U.S. livestock groups support U.S. energy independence and the development of renewable and biofuels fuels, 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 and biofuels fuels to grow, the organizations said.

NPPC has joined in a lawsuit against EPA for its decision to increase the ethanol blend rate in gasoline to 15% for 2001 and later model year cars and light trucks on the grounds that granting a “partial waiver” of the Clean Air Act is not within the agency’s legal authority.