Minnesota Corn Growers Association President: Don’t mess with the RFS

Bruce Peterson

MCGA President Bruce Peterson farms in Northfield.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed slashing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and reducing the amount of homegrown ethanol blended into our fuel supply by almost 4 billion gallons from 2014-16. The cuts amount to the loss of nearly a billion and a half bushels in corn demand compared to original RFS targets.

Northfield farmer and Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) president Bruce Peterson issued the following statement after EPA announced its proposal:

“Today’s announcement from EPA is bad news for farmers, rural Minnesota and air quality. By citing the mythical ‘blend wall’ as a reason for slashing the amount of ethanol in our fuel supply, EPA is rewarding the oil industry for failing to deploy the technology to meet the biofuels blending targets clearly set by Congress in the RFS.

Demand for cleaner-burning, homegrown biofuels like corn-based ethanol are at an all-time high in the U.S. Here in Minnesota, fueling stations that dispense E15 are popping up all over the Twin Cities and consumers continue asking for renewable choices at the pump. Thanks to the RFS, we’re relying less on foreign oil from hostile countries or environmentally sensitive areas and using more cleaner-burning fuels. In other words, the RFS is working exactly as Congress intended.

Now is not the time to cave into Big Oil’s demands and slash the RFS.”

MCGA wasn’t the only organization to speak out against EPA’s proposal:

  • Maryland farmer and National Corn Growers Association president Chip Bowling said “the Renewable Fuel Standard was working as intended, with no need to change.”
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Reps. Collin Peterson and Tim Walz, all longtime supporters of homegrown biofuels and the RFS, took EPA to task in this Star Tribune story.
  • Brian Jennings, president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, likened EPA’s RFS cuts to allowing the New England Patriots to play with deflated footballs. “It’s like the NFL saying it’s ok for the New England Patriots to deflate footballs while everyone else must play by the rules,” Jennings said.
  • Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen see the cuts as a step backward: “By adopting the oil company narrative regarding the ability of the market to effectively distribute increasing volumes of renewable fuels, rather than putting the RFS back on track, the Agency has created its own slower, more costly, and ultimately diminished track for renewable fuels in this country,” Dinneed said.
  • Advanced Ethanol Council executive director Brooke Coleman worries that by letting Big Oil skirt the law on the RFS, it might open the door for future clean airs laws to also be ignored by the oil industry: “EPA is still allowing the oil industry’s refusal to comply with the RFS to be cause to slow the program down. If the Obama Administration continues to reward non-compliance with clean energy laws, clean energy laws will cease to be effective,” Coleman said.

EPA will hold a public hearing on its proposal on June 25, 2015, in Kansas City, Kansas. The period for public input and comment will be open until July 27. EPA will finalize the volume standards in this rule by Nov. 30.

When EPA attempted a similar cut nearly two years ago, Minnesota corn farmers and biofuels supporters responded by sending 7,000 letters to the agency demanding that it not mess with the RFS. Keep checking MinnesotaCornerstone.com in the coming days for details on how you can speak out against EPA’s latest proposal.

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