The Maine House took a decisive stance against blending ethanol into gasoline, giving initial approval to a bill that would ban the corn-based additive from motor fuel if two other New England states pass similar laws.

In addition, the House unanimously endorsed a resolution urging the federal government not to require gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, a blend known as E15. The Senate unanimously endorsed that resolution Tuesday. Most gasoline available today is a blend with 10 percent ethanol.

The House voted 109-32 in favor of LD 115, a bill sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake, R-Turner, that would ban the sale of ethanol-containing gasoline in the state. The prohibition would only take effect if two other New England states passed similar laws.

Proponents of the ban said on the House floor that ethanol in gasoline hasn’t helped the United States cut down on carbon pollution and the additive is damaging to small engines and boat motors. Plus, the use of corn in gasoline has forced corn prices to spike, driving up food and gasoline prices, said Timberlake.

Those who voted against the bill said Maine should be careful in passing legislation that bucks federal regulations that require an annually increasing amount of the nation’s fuels come from renewable sources.

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