The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would delay its decision on Growth Energy’s petition to raise the blend rate for ethanol in gasoline to 15% next June. EPA wants to review the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ongoing study that will provide critical data on the question of durability when E15 is used. The study is expected to be completed by mid-June.

In a letter to Growth Energy, EPA stated that its engineering assessments indicate that the “robust fuel, engine and emissions control systems in new vehicles (likely 2001 and newer model years) will likely be able to accommodate higher ethanol blends, such as E15.” EPA also noted that increasing the blend wall to E15 is a “critical issue” as the United States works toward long-term introduction of more renewable fuels into the transportation sector.

According to Growth Energy, “This announcement is a strong signal that we are preparing to move to E15, a measure that will create 136,000 new U.S. jobs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and lessen America’s dependence on imported oil.”

The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA) stated, “In making this decision, EPA correctly recognizes that there is more study and comprehensive testing to be done to ensure that higher ethanol blends will be safer for consumers and not threaten the reliability of their fuels or operation of their vehicles, engines and outdoor equipment.” Growth Energy filed the petition with EPA in March of this year.

Processed Food Safety — Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced the Processed Food Safety Act which would mandate pathogen treatment and expand labeling requirements on meat and poultry. The legislation would:

• Prohibit the sale of any meat, poultry or FDA-regulated food that has not undergone pathogen reduction treatment or been certified to only contain ingredients that are virtually pathogen free;

• Require labels on ground beef or any other ground meat product and specifically name every cut of meat that is contained in the product; and

• Close loopholes in current laws that allow the addition of coloring, synthetic flavoring and spices to products without informing the consumer. Senator Feinstein said, “Food producers must be obligated to produce food that is free of pathogens. It is the responsibility of the food producer, not the consumer, to make sure our food is safe to eat.”

End National Animal ID Efforts — Approximately 100 state and national organizations are urging Congress and the Obama Administration to stop all funding for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The groups are urging USDA to not use the $5.3 million appropriated for NAIS to advance the program. The organizations recommend that USDA use the funds to:

• Formally withdraw all pending rulemaking initiated by USDA to advance NAIS;

• Pay all existing contractual obligations and NAIS-related costs that USDA incurred prior to Sept. 30, 2009;

• Pay all costs associated with transferring the computer hardware acquired by USDA as part of NAIS to state animal health agencies, thereby enabling them to improve their ability to communicate among agencies in the event of a disease outbreak; and

• Pay all costs associated with providing the public and Congress with an official report on all of the testimony received at USDA’s animal ID listening sessions. Those signing the letters included R-CALF USA, Farm Aid, Food and Water Watch, Local Harvest, National Family Farm Coalition, Organic Consumers Association, Organization for Competitive Markets and Small Farms Conservancy.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.