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Holcomb vetoes bill requiring additional labeling of ethanol fuel

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Gov. Eric Holcomb has vetoed a bill that would require gas stations to have additional labeling for E15 fuel.

E15 is gasoline that has up to 15% ethanol in it. Senate Enrolled Act 303 stated that gas stations had to provide a notice warning people to check their owner’s manual for compatibility and warranty requirements for putting E15 in their vehicles. Failure to do so would result in a class A infraction, which could cost up to $10,000 in fines.

Holcomb argued in his veto letter that the Environmental Protection Agency already required a similar label on gas pumps.

“I find this additional layer of government unnecessary and confusing,” the letter read.

SEA 303 author Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, said that Tim Phelps, executive director of the Indiana Ethanol Producers Association, testified when the bill was in committee, saying that adding another label would be confusing to the consumer, which Messmer said “was an absolutely absurd statement.”

“Obviously disappointed that the governor chose the interest of ethanol fuel commissioners over the safety of consumers,” Messmer said. “E15 will ruin a motorcycle engine, a boat engine and just about any other kind of two-cycle engine.”

However, Holcomb did support parts of the bill and encouraged the General Assembly to address parts of it in the next session. Some of the language he wants to see kept are redefining gasohol, a mixture of gasoline and ethanol, and selling E15 year round.

Holcomb’s veto was supported by the Indiana Ethanol Producers Association.

“E15 represents a tremendous opportunity for our state, and with this veto, we feel it will help grow grain markets and boost farm income and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Phelps said.

Phelps also said that E15 can be used on vehicles older than 2001, which represent 95% of vehicles on the road, according to the IEPA’s research.

Taylor Dixon is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.