The House Science Committee passed legislation on Tuesday that will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct additional testing on E15 before allowing use of the blend.

The bill (H.R. 3199) is sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner(R-WI) and includes six cosponsors. The legislation was passed by a committee vote of 19-7.

The bill will require EPA to have the National Academies of Science (NAS) conduct additional research comparing mid-level ethanol blends  to blends containing 10 percent and zero percent ethanol. NAS would be required to report its results to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology 18 months after the legislation is enacted.

The committee received a letter supporting H.R. 3199 from 31 groups representing a wide range of interests, from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to the American Meat Institute to Friends of the Earth.

The groups cited in the letter that the legislation would allow for the kind of comprehensive testing that still needs to be done involving “on-road, off-road, and marine engines, vehicles and related equipment prior to the implementation of any waiver for mid-level ethanol blends.” They contend that the bill will help ensure that mid-level ethanol blends are introduced in a manner that protects consumers and the environment. The letter is available here.

Garry Niemeyer, National Corn Growers Association president, responded to the legislation, "NCGA is disappointed to see the House Science Committee vote in favor of a piece of legislation that will hamper consumer choice in fuel. The EPA has thoroughly tested and approved the use of E15 in motor vehicles.  This legislation will create further government bureaucracy and generate unnecessary costs to American taxpayers for something that has already been appropriately vetted."