Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent the following letter to United States Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz requesting an independent, objective study into the effects advanced biofuel blends have in small engines. 

Dear Secretary Moniz:

We write to you regarding the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed study entitled Advanced Biofuel Blends in Small Engines. We support studying this issue, but request that DOE conduct the study in an independent, objective, and wholly scientific manner. 

DOE’s 2009-10 Catalyst Study on the effects of E-15 gas on automobiles raised concerns from consumer and industry groups. Organizations including, but not limited to, the Milk Producers Council, Friends of the Earth, American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, National Turkey Federation, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and the National Black Chamber of Commerce cosigned a letter addressing this issue. Meanwhile, the Renewable Fuels Association stated that the Coordinating Research Council’s (CRC) study on E-15 was flawed. DOE also stated that the CRC’s study was deeply flawed. 

To prevent the Advanced Biofuel Blends in Small Engines study from becoming a political football, DOE should partner with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct research on this topic. The NAS will provide independent and objective advice to DOE that would satisfy interested parties and stakeholders.

As Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology your answers to the following questions may be helpful as we conduct oversight of your research on advanced biofuel blends in small engines. Please answer the following questions by August 27, 2015.

1. Do you agree that there was a significant amount of concern regarding studies on the effects of E-15 in automobiles, including the DOE and CRC studies?

2. What is the best way to conduct an independent, objective and scientific study on advanced biofuel blends in small engines?

3. How much do you estimate that a study on this issue will cost? 

4. What are your goals for the small engine study?

5. Would it be unusual for DOE to partner with NAS on a scientific study?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.


Member of Congress