Missouri Governor Leaves Ethanol Standard Intact

In a letter to area representatives on June 13, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt noted it is in the state's best interest to leave in place the E-10 standard in the Kansas City area. The renewable fuel standard, which requires most gasoline sold to contain at least 10 percent ethanol, boasts advantages for both the environment and Missourians' pocketbooks.

"We have reviewed the request for a waiver of the E-10 standard in the Kansas City area," Blunt said. "After thorough consideration of all aspects of this waiver request, I have decided it is in the best interest of the state to not issue the waiver."

In a press release, Blunt said he shares Kansas City representatives' concerns about air quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's related rankings and committed to giving their request for a waiver serious and diligent consideration. The governor reviewed all the data and information and consulted with air quality and environmental experts within the state's Department of Natural Resources before making the decision. His reasons include the following:

• A waiver would not ban the use of E-10, but only allow a marketer to opt out of selling E-10. Because a marketer's decision to use E-10 is primarily driven by cost considerations, a waiver allowing a marketer not to sell E-10 for air quality reasons will have little effect on the sale of E-10.

• Switching between E-10 and conventional gasoline can create significant concern for retail marketers under federal and state clean air laws. Marketers would have to drain their storage tanks containing E-10 before refilling with conventional gasoline or risk selling fuel that would not meet state and federal requirements.

• Ethanol has the potential to provide some cost relief for motorists. With gasoline hovering at the $4 per gallon mark, it is incumbent to provide every opportunity to lower fuel costs.

• Issuing a waiver undermines the significant environmental benefits of E-10, including reduced tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide, air toxics, particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds. In addition the fact that ethanol is produced from renewable feedstocks also reduces carbon dioxide.

Blunt also pointed out the unique differences in challenges that face the state's two largest cities concerning air quality. Kansas City representatives have made an effort to compare the area's obstacles to those of St. Louis,' however situations on the East and West edges of the state differ significantly. The governor also noted that for the last few years, 100 percent of the gasoline sold in St. Louis has contained 10 percent ethanol.

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