This coming Tuesday, January 28, is the final date to submit comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) reduction proposal. The Iowa Corn Growers Association urges all members and everyone else who is interested to submit public comments and to communicate to the EPA the impact of this proposal on their farms and rural communities.
"So far, over 1,300 Iowa corn growers have submitted comments in support of the RFS to the EPA through the corn website, and we hope to increase this number through January 28," says Mindy Larsen Poldberg, government affairs director for ICGA. The National Corn Growers Association goal is to have 10,000 comments submitted from across the country.
ICGA leaders are asking you to go to the NCGA website to send a note directly to the EPA and encourage others to do the same. For more information on the RFS, go to the RFA website. The EPA comment period ends at midnight on Tuesday, January 28.
Hearing in the Heartland held this past week in Des Moines to support RFS
On Thursday, January 23, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds hosted a hearing for Iowans to provide testimony and discussion on the EPA's proposal to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard. The event was held at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines. The hearing lasted more than nine hours, and more than 80 people testified at the hearing regarding the wide-ranging impact that the EPA proposal would have on their farm, business, local community and legislative district.
Branstad said the lowering of the RFS, if the proposal is adopted, would have a "devastating effect on Iowa's economy and the rural economy of the entire Midwest." Iowa is the nation's top producer of ethanol and biodiesel. He and other speakers who testified at the "Hearing in the Heartland" meeting in Des Moines called on the EPA to reverse its proposal to reduce the renewable fuel mandate.
Comments made at the hearing will be submitted to the EPA. Many speakers highlighted the potential impact of the EPA proposal on the rural Iowa economy and jobs, the ability to offer affordable fuel choices, and the U.S.'s national energy portfolio and commitment to renewable fuels. Iowa Corn Grower members and corn growers from other states also spoke against the EPA proposal at the event; many corn farmer representatives from the National Corn Growers Association, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, and South Dakota Corn Growers provided testimony.
Iowa Corn members and growers from five or six other states spoke at or attended the Hearing in the Heartland
Elected officials from Iowa and surrounding states provided testimony at the event including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Congressman Tom Latham (IA-3), Congressman Steve King (IA-4), Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, a representative from the office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), and a representative from the office of Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-1).
Providing comments on behalf of state agriculture departments included Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Director Greg Ibach (Neb.), Director Ted McKinney (Ind.), Commissioner Dave Frederickson (Minn.), and Secretary Lucas Lentsch (S.D.).
Other Iowa leaders providing comments were Director Paul Trombino, Iowa Department of Transportation; Director Debi Durham, Iowa Department of Economic Development; Director Chuck Gipp, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Representative Lee Hein, Chair of the House Environmental Protection Committee; and Representative Pat Grassley, Chair of the House Agriculture Committee.
Iowa Corn and Renewable Fuels Association release study showing RFS goals could be met by increasing the use of E85 and E15 ethanol blends
Last week the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, along with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) released a report conducted by Informa Economics. This study was conducted in direct response to ethanol data that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy has stated that the EPA does not currently have. The Informa study found that the statutory 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) could be met by greater E85 and E15 usage. Key findings include:
* It is possible for statutory components and allocations within the Renewable Fuel Standard to be met in 2014, after adjustments to the Cellulosic Biofuel Standard.
* Total U.S. consumption of ethanol can expand by approximately 4% in 2014 if the right mix of policy/regulatory and economic signals is in place.
* Prices of Renewable Identification Numbers would need to rise above recent levels to facilitate expansion of ethanol consumption and effective compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard, but the associated prices would be considerably below the peaks reached in 2013.