For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - The Maine House today gave initial approval to two bills designed to restrict the amount of ethanol in gasoline sold in Maine. Both were sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake (R-Turner).
The first, LD 115, would allow the State of Maine to join together with other New England states to ban the use of the ethanol additive in our motor fuel. The bill came out of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee with a divided, 7-6 report in favor and was approved by the House in its initial vote, 109-32, before being sent to the Senate.
The second bill, LD 105, would allow Maine fuel retailers to sell gasoline with five percent ethanol, versus the current requirement of 10 percent. This bill, conversely, came out of the ENR Committee with a 9-4 recommendation not to pass. That recommendation failed 66-77. The minority "ought to pass" was approved without a vote and sent to the Senate.
"The ethanol additive, which is a derivative of corn, amounts to us burning our food in our fuel tanks," said Rep. Timberlake. "And with the rising numbers of Americans going hungry, this just seems like a poor use of farmland and its product."
Timberlake pointed to massive subsidies given to Midwest farmers for growing corn for ethanol as an unfair disadvantage for Maine farmers. Timberlake also raised issue with the increasing cost of corn ethanol as a result of subsidized overproduction, which he says has contributed to high gasoline prices.
"With ethanol inflating the price of corn, corn in the last ten years has risen from $2.50 a bushel to a recent high of $8.34 a bushel," said Timberlake. "The cost of grain has also increased. Higher feed prices are reflected in the higher prices we are all paying for dairy, poultry, beef and pork items."
He also pointed to the adverse effect ethanol additives have on motors. The owner of an equipment rental store in Turner, Timberlake sees firsthand the corrosive effect ethanol has on small motors and passenger vehicle engines.
"These bills are about helping Mainers keep more money in their pocket by minimizing engine repairs, and lowering the cost of fuel and virtually all consumer goods and products," said Timberlake. "I believe this is a nonpartisan issue that most Mainers support," added Timberlake. "We need to put Mainers first and tell the federal government that we won't support burning our food in our gas tanks."
The Maine Snowmobile Association, Maine Pilots Association, Maine Rental Association, Antique Auto Clubs, Maine Small Engine Dealers, Maine Boat Dealers, and Auto Dealers Association all testified in favor of LD 115.
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793