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EAA-Backed Ethanol Exemption Bill Makes Progress In Hawaii


March 29, 2007 — Hawaii?s State Senate Committee on Energy and Environment (ENE) approved amended legislation last week that would exempt premium auto fuel from the state?s 10 percent ethanol mandate implemented in 2006. EAA members in Hawaii, led by Chapter 1182 President Terri Thomas, joined other interest groups including the marine industry, in pushing for the new legislation.

Earlier this month, Thomas? testimony, including information regarding incompatibility of ethanol as an aviation fuel provided by EAA, helped the measure make its way through the state House of Representatives.

With that win under her belt, she proceeded to the Hawaiian Senate where she provided equally persuasive testimony before the Senate ENE committee on March 22. Sen. Ron Menor, who chairs the committee, was initially reluctant to hear the bill, saying it would water down the ethanol mandate and weaken the state?s effort to reduce its dependence on imported fuel. But after receiving Thomas? testimony and that of other affected groups, he wound up voting with the 3-1 majority to approve it.

Menor?s ENE committee report concluded, ?There is a need to provide non-ethanol gasoline for use in boats, small gasoline powered tools, and experimental and light-sport aircraft.?

The legislation has been referred to the Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Affordable Housing Committee, Thomas? efforts are now geared toward ensuring the bill gets scheduled and acted upon before the legislative session ends on May 3.

?The efforts of EAA really opened the state?s eyes to what they should have done in the first place,? Thomas said. ?Now we?re waiting for the CPH to set the time for their hearing.?

Thomas also thanked Chairman Menor, Vice Chairman (Gary) Hooser and their Committee members who kept their minds open to hear what the public was concerned about. ?They took their time, soaked up the information and did their due diligence concerning the problems we have with ethanol blended fuels,? she said.

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