NMMA Disappointed in U.S. Court of Appeals Decision to Dismiss Boating Industry Concerns about E15

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- August 17, 2012 -- The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced it is disappointed in the decision today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to dismiss on procedural grounds the recreational boating industry’s challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to allow E15 into the U.S. fuel supply.  The Engine Products Group, a coalition of organizations that includes NMMA, sought to block the EPA decision. Other coalition members include the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and the Association of Global Automakers, Inc. (Global Automakers).

This decision puts the potentially dangerous E15 at gas pumps across the country, a troubling scenario for American boaters and the recreational boating industry.

While this decision is a setback it does not speak to the underlying merits of the case – whether EPA was in fact correct in its interpretation of the Clean Air Act to allow for a partial waiver in the first case.  In his dissent, Judge Kavanaugh, who presided over the case, found that “EPA ran roughshod over the relative statutory limits” and is “flatly contrary to the plain text of the statute.” NMMA is confident that were the Court to rule on the merits of the case that it would find that EPA has overstepped its authority for a partial waiver of E15. As a result, NMMA is currently evaluating further litigation options.

Late in 2011, the EPA approved the use of E15 for a subset of on-highway motor vehicles ( model years 2001-2006). Earlier that same year, the EPA approved the use of E15 for model year 2007 and newer vehicles as part of its response to a waiver petition filed in the spring of 2009 by pro-ethanol lobby group Growth Energy.

The partial waiver excluded marine engines and other non-road engines such as snowmobiles, lawn and garden equipment, the NMMA has been concerned that the waiver will lead to widespread misfueling by consumers.  Recently, NMMA at its own cost distributed labels for the marine industry to warn against fueling marine engines with E15.  EPA also refused to mandate that if a facility sells E15 it would also offer E10 or E0 fuel for the nation’s estimated 13 million registered power boat owners or the hundreds of millions of owners of gasoline-powered equipment.

“NMMA will continue to evaluate and address policy to protect boaters from misfueling and product failures associated with incompatible fuels and will take the necessary actions to ensure compatible fuels remain available and affordable,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “EPA has failed in each regard and approved E15 in violation of its clear statutory requirements.” 

Media Contact: Ellen Hopkins at [email protected] or 312-946-6249


About NMMA: National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry in North America. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy advocacy, market statistics and research, product quality assurance and promotion of the boating lifestyle. For more information visit www.nmma.org.