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Farmers Rally, Tell EPA to Back RFS
Hundreds of farmers rallied in Kansas City, Missouri, Thursday to show their support for a more vigorous ethanol blending mandate in conjunction with a hearing that the EPA held in that city on its proposed blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The governors of Iowa and Missouri as well as their ag secretaries spoke to the farmers.
“Certainly there’s no excuse for EPA to walk away and say they didn’t hear what rural America felt about renewable fuels, for ethanol and biodiesel and how important the RFS was, and how they missed this target,” said Bill Northey, Iowa agriculture secretary.
Northey also testified to EPA about its proposal to proceed with so-called renewable volume obligations for last year, this year, and 2016 that falls well below levels envisioned by Congress when it approved the RFS in a 2007 energy law.
“It baffles me why we are here today to try and convince this agency to meet their mission,” Northey said in his prepared testimony. “It baffles me why an administrator of the EPA who has an extensive background in air quality and energy efficiency would slow progress on those efforts.”
“It baffles me why Big Oil and special interests are allowed to continue to obstruct and misinform - threatening jobs in the heartland of America, reduced economic activity, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and increased dependency on foreign oil,” Northey added.
National Corn Growers Association president Chip Bowling of Maryland told EPA Thursday, “We simply cannot afford - and will not tolerate - efforts to cut the demand for corn, and that's exactly what your proposal will do. We cannot let this stand. We've done our part, and our allies in the ethanol industry have done their part. It's time the EPA sided with those of us supporting a domestic, renewable fuel that's better for the environment."
Bowling ended his testimony telling the group that farmers were watching and would continue to speak out.
"We have never before seen so much grassroots interest in a particular issue," he said. "The many who came here today had to set aside important work back home, with delayed planting or other important fieldwork. They are here because they know what's at stake,” he said.
Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, told EPA that the reasoning used to slow ethanol blending is at odds with the intent of Congress when it approved the RFS.
“According to Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University, because obligated parties control 80% of refined-product terminals, they decide the level of ethanol blending that will, or will not, occur. That’s why Congress enacted the RFS,” Jennings said. “Left to their own devices, oil companies won’t allow consumer access to E15 and flex fuels. Left to their own devices, oil companies won’t reduce the carbon intensity of gasoline. They’ve earned the label 'obligated parties' based on their refusal to innovate.”
Links to more testimony can be found here.
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