Corn farmers, the ethanol industry and rural America received a blow today as the United States Environmental Protection Agency proposed reductions to the Renewable Fuel Standard’s renewable volume obligations for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“Today’s announcement is disheartening as farmers and everyday folks alike have invested billions in order to meet the RFS’s levels set forth by Congress back in 2007,” stated South Dakota Corn Growers president Keith Alverson, a sixth-generation farmer from Chester. “We have successfully met the RFS’s corn ethanol requirements because corn farmers are growing more per acre and the ethanol industry is producing more renewable fuel per bushel. These advances in efficiency are proof of the successful ingenuities that result from crucial policies like the RFS.”
The RFS is still in its infancy, yet has been an extremely successful policy and is exceeding expectations. It has reduced greenhouse gas emissions, decreased America’s dependence on foreign oil, lowered gasoline prices for consumers and revitalized rural economies across the country.
Farmers and the ethanol industry have delivered and are ready to provide additional relief to consumers at the pump by supplying the nation with E15, a blend approved by the EPA for all cars and light trucks 2001 or newer, which represents more than 75% of automobiles on the road today.
“We are capable of breaking down the blend wall, which continues to be heavily protected by big oil lobbying interests,” added Alverson. “We aren’t pleading for a mandate, we simply want an avenue that provides American-made, renewable fuels with fair access to the marketplace which is controlled by the petroleum industry.”
Alverson noted that the ethanol industry is thriving without subsidies, but the same can’t be said for the oil industry, which receives billions in American subsidies each year.
“Protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard is a top priority for our growers, and they will continue to raise their voices as necessary in defense of this important policy,” added Alverson. “Our farmers showed up in a big way during the last comment period and will undoubtedly do so again to show the EPA and President Obama just how vital this policy is to not just farmers, but all South Dakotans.”