I sent the following email to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson:
Dear Administrator Jackson:
The following post was left on the pure-gas.org web site in the Comments section:
“Recently our fire dept. was responding to a brush fire where the fire was about the get into a barn. Our brush truck has a gasoline powered engine (which is almost new) in which we had a difficult time cranking to extinguish the fire. Upon our investigation after the fire we found the cause of failure of the pump operating was due to ethanol gas. The repair agency advised that we should not use ethanol gas on small engines due to this problem and that we should not store ethanol gas no more than 2 weeks. Unfortunately we must store some gas for emergencies on fire apparatus for calls. At some times it can be stored for quite some time before we use it. How are fire dept’s suppose to operate equipment properly and store gas for emergencies with this causing engine problems? Hope you don’t need to depend on this to save your life, the engine may not start??????? -Tony Collins, Advance, NC (February 9, 2011)”
You can see it for yourself here: http://pure-gas.org/comments, use the View all comments button to get to this earlier comment.
Are you going to wait until someone dies when portable equipment won’t start or quits during an emergency because of the unintended consequences of the RFS mandate in EISA 2007 that are turning all of the gasoline in the U.S. to E10? As it stands now first responders and emergency crews cannot get ethanol free gasoline in California and most of the Northeast. It is rapidly disappearing in the Northwest too, and it is apparently a serious problem in North Carolina. I urge you to prohibit the blending of ethanol in all premium unleaded gasoline sold in the U.S., as you were requested by numerous organizations in the E15 comments, before someone is killed.
Regards — Dean Billing / Sisters, OR
I would urge others in the Public Safety field to let Administrator Jackson know if you have concerns about how the ethanol mandate is affecting your portable tools and equipment … before it is too late. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 03/30/2011: Apparently the EPA is waiting for someone to die, as the following reply illustrates:
Dear Mr. Billing:
Thank you for your February 15, 2011 email to Administrator Jackson concerning the use of ethanol in gasoline and problems with small, non-road engines in emergency equipment. …
We are aware that some small, non-road engines are having problems with gasoline that contains 10 percent ethanol (E10). Furthermore, we have found that gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15) is not suitable for such engines. As we transition to E10 and E15 we are monitoring the situation. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.
Karl J. Simon, Director
Compliance and Innovative Strategies Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality
So there you have it in black and white, “… we are monitoring the situation.“
Translation from bureaucratese, “Yes, we are waiting for someone to die and if there is a public outcry, we will react.”