STOP 25% ETHANOL MANDATE AB 682: Representative Nass' letter to Rep.s Huebsch and Fitzgerald
February 11, 2008
Representative Mike Huebsch
Speaker of the Assembly
Room 211 West
Representative Jeff Fitzgerald
Assembly Majority Leader
Room 214 West
RE: STOP THE 25% ETHANOL MANDATE – AB 682
Dear Speaker Huebsch and Representative Fitzgerald:
The people of Wisconsin thought the ethanol mandate saga ended when the State Senate failed to garner enough support for Senate Bill 380 on January 31, 2008. Senate Bill 380 and Assembly Bill 682 are companion legislation enacting a 25% Ethanol Mandate.
Late on Friday afternoon (February 8, 2008), the Assembly Biofuels and Sustainable Energy Committee quietly notified committee members that they would be voting on the 25% Ethanol Mandate (AB 682) on February 13, 2008. The Ethanol Mandate will likely pass unanimously in the committee and then become available in the Assembly Rules Committee for scheduling a floor vote.
Passage of this legislation would be an economic and environmental disaster for the Badger State. There are three major areas of negative impact on the people:
1.) Higher Gas and Food Prices – An ethanol mandate will distort the fuel market and specifically permit the ethanol industry to exert massive pricing power over the cost of gasoline blended with ethanol. Additionally, the diversion of corn from use in our food production system to the fuel tanks of our automobiles will significantly increase the cost of groceries for every family in this state.
2.) Adverse Impact on Engines and Outdoor Equipment – Experts have already noted that use of more than 10% ethanol blend will have a negative impact on engine wear, performance and carburetion, which could result in warranty and product reliability issues. The Engine Manufacturers Association, a national organization, has registered in opposition to the Wisconsin 25% Ethanol Mandate.
3.) Worsen Wisconsin Ozone Nonattainment Status – The federal Clean Air Act restricts the amount of ethanol that can be blended with conventional gas because ethanol use is a known source of increasing pollutants that form ozone. The 25% Ethanol Mandate would likely worsen ozone pollution in Wisconsin requiring expansion of the nonattainment zone from southeast Wisconsin. This would force the State of Wisconsin to consider requiring more automobile owners submit to vehicle emission testing and more punitive pollution restrictions on businesses.
There is legitimate fear that a back room deal will permit Assembly Bill 682 to receive a floor vote on short notice during the final days of this legislative session. In my 16 years in the Assembly, it has been a common occurrence for bad legislation to be moved forward in the final days.
In order to avoid a potentially explosive fight amongst Republicans in the Assembly over the 25% Ethanol Mandate, I am requesting a public assurance from both of you that AB 682 and SB 380 won’t be scheduled for a floor vote under any circumstances. The potential movement of the Ethanol Mandate would be a major distraction to Republican efforts in fighting new tax and fee increases being considered by the State Senate.
31st Assembly District
Representative Nass' office was kind enough to send me a copy of his email.