Iowa Governor Terry Branstad last week got a bipartisan group of six governors to sign on to a letter to President Barack Obama, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing the governors' support for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard. The letter from the governors says the RFS fosters diversification of America's energy portfolio, gives consumers choices at the pump, supports economic development in rural communities and reduces harmful emissions across the nation.
The EPA recently proposed a rule that would significantly weaken the current RFS, and in the letter Branstad and this group of governors expressed their opposition to the EPA proposal.
Iowa Governor Branstad brings bipartisan group of six governors together in support of RFS
These six governors signed on in support of a strong RFS: Gov. Terry Branstad (R-Iowa), Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R-N.D.), Gov. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), Gov. Dennis Dugaard (R-S.D.) and Gov. Dave Heineman (R-Neb.).
The governors wrote: "More than 400,000 Americans depend on renewable fuels for good-paying jobs that support rewarding careers in our states. According to the Renewable Fuels Association and LMC International, a total of 44,500 of these jobs could be lost due to the EPA proposed rule. This proposed rule would greatly hinder our states' efforts to foster policies that create jobs, grow family incomes and revitalize our economies."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The letter goes on to say, "If the EPA's currently proposed rule becomes final, the negative impact would be disproportionately felt by rural America. According to an Iowa State University estimate, corn prices alone could drop 19 cents per bushel based on the proposed rule, which could bring corn prices below the cost of production for many farmers. The proposed EPA rule could also cause a ripple effect on agri-business, our communities, and the entire economy."
Letter sent to President Obama, Administrator McCarthy and Sec. Vilsack calls for reconsideration of EPA's proposed RFS rule
The governors asked the Obama administration to use its authority to support the growing renewable fuels industry. Their letter states: "Specifically, we hope that you will encourage the EPA to increase the biodiesel volume to reflect current production levels, modify the cellulosic target to match production expectations, and reinstate the statutory conventional renewable fuel target since there is clearly no domestic supply shortage."
In November, EPA announced that it is proposing to reduce by 3 billion gallons the amount of renewable fuels that would be blended into the nation's fuel supply in 2014. That proposed reduction includes cutting the required use of corn-based ethanol by about 1.4 billion gallons. The EPA proposal would freeze the biodiesel mandate for 2014 at the same level of 1.28 billion gallons as is required in 2013. That is, despite the fact that the biodiesel industry is currently operating at production rate of 2 billion gallons per year.
The bipartisan letter is the latest effort by Branstad to fight for American jobs, rural communities and a strong agriculture industry by working to protect the RFS. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, and other Iowa elected leaders recently requested a hearing in Iowa on this EPA proposal. On December 4, 2013, Gov. Branstad testified before the EPA in support of the RFS in Arlington, VA. The testimony followed a "Defend the RFS" rally in Nevada, Iowa, on November 22, 2013.