Minnesota Corn Growers to EPA: Don’t mess with the RFS

Make your voice heard before the July 27 deadline.

Make your voice heard before the July 27 deadline.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is urging corn farmers, anyone who drives a car, anyone who wants to breathe cleaner air, renewable energy supporters and others to speak out against a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slash the amount of homegrown ethanol blended in our fuel supply.

If EPA gets its way, ethanol blending targets set by Congress in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) will be reduced by nearly 9 billion gallons over the next two years. If implemented, the proposal would increase air pollution, raise gas prices and give oil companies an even tighter stranglehold on our fuel tanks.

“EPA tried a similar proposal a little over a year ago, but fortunately Americans came out in full force against it,” said Bruce Peterson, a family farmer in Northfield and president of MCGA. “EPA is back with another flawed proposal, and it’s up to us to once again make our voices heard and tell EPA to not mess with the RFS.”

Bruce Peterson

MCGA President Bruce Peterson farms in Northfield.

Peterson urged everyone who would like to make their voices heard and tell EPA that the RFS is working for all Americans to visit www.ncga.com/rfs before the July 27 deadline for public comments. MCGA has also provided several different comment letter templates at www.mncorn.org, which can be signed and mailed to MCGA at 738 1st Ave. East, Shakopee, MN, 55379.

MCGA will then forward the letters on to EPA. Letters must be received by the MCGA office no later than July 22.

“EPA needs to hear from those who will suffer if the RFS targets are lowered,” Peterson said. “If you fuel a vehicle with gasoline, this proposal affects you.”

Jerry Demmer, a corn farmer from Alden, Minn., will also be speaking out against EPA’s proposal and in favor of more fuel choice at the pump at a national RFS public hearing in Kansas City, Kan., on June 25.

Facts about ethanol and the RFS

The Renewable Fuel Standard has played a key role in reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. The amount of ethanol produced last year kept the U.S. from having to import about 512 million barrels of crude oil, or slightly more than the amount of oil imported annually from Saudi Arabia. (Source: Energy Information Administration data)

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 34 percent compared to regular gasoline.

There are 21 ethanol plants in Minnesota capable of producing 1.1 billion gallons annually. Those plants support nearly 13,000 jobs and generate an estimated $5 billion in total economic output, mostly in rural communities (Source: Minnesota Department of Agriculture)

A 2010 study from Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin found that U.S. ethanol production lowered gas prices by 89 cents per gallon than they other would have been.

Subsidies from American taxpayer to big oil companies around the world are also increasing. A World Energy Outlook fact sheet estimates that public subsidies for fossil fuel production could reach $660 billion by 2020. In contrast, there are no direct public subsidies for American corn ethanol production.

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