The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) urges producers and consumers to take part in shaping the direction of our clean-energy future by making comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2).
The provisions in the RFS2 will have a huge impact on the future of the biofuels industry in America. It's important that the EPA get it right – and that means making sure the expanded standard will help us capitalize on the potential that renewable fuels hold for our country.
EPA will close its comment period on its proposed rule for the RFS2 on Sept 25. Taking action now to support the growing biofuels industry will ensure our march toward energy independence in this country stays in step.
A key concern in the proposed RFS2 rule is methodology used to measure the impacts of U.S. corn and ethanol production, called International Land Use Change or Indirect Land Use. Indirect land use is the theory that corn-based ethanol changes the crops planted on acres in the Midwest and through a series of assumptions changes the face of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil.
The EPA proposes to penalize corn-based ethanol for causing the deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest in their current revision of the RFS2. They have no scientific basis to do so.
The recent USDA crop report brought the controversy over land use change impacts from biofuels to its knees with a staggering projection of U.S. farmers setting a new record for the amount of corn produced per acre of land. In the USDA estimate, farmers are expected to produce a record 161.9 bushels per acre, a 5 percent increase over last year’s average yield and 1.5 bushels/acre higher than the previous record set in 2004. USDA expects total corn production to reach 13 billion bushels, a 7 percent increase over last year and the second-largest crop on record. If all projections remain on track, ending stocks of corn are projected 14 million bushels higher.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, just 15 years ago 35 million more acres of corn would have been needed to produce the equivalent of this year’s crop. Because of advancements in farming and seed technology, farmers can produce far more per acre, reducing the need for total crop acreage. Such facts run counter to the unfounded claims that increased U.S. biofuel production is leading to increased conversion of non-agricultural land in the United States and abroad. The facts simply don’t support this hypothesis.
“Implementing regulations that are outpacing the science to support it in the RFS2 is irresponsible. The notion threatens to unravel the tremendous advances this country has made toward energy independence,” said Bill Chase, president of the SDCGA.
But time to comment on EPA’s proposed rules for implementation of the RFS2 is running out. EPA will accept comments to the docket through the end of business on September 25, 2009. That's next Friday.
The SDCGA invites South Dakotans to help with this effort. Simply go to www.sdcorn.org and click on Action Alert on the homepage. That will take you to a customizable response page which will take you only a few moments to complete. Now's the time to let your voice be heard on this issue.