(Posted Tue. Jan 28th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, formally opposing its proposal to slash the amount of corn ethanol required in the Renewable Fuel Standard and citing the severe economic and environmental ramifications potential action. With a midnight (Eastern Standard Time) deadline looming, NCGA calls upon all members, farmers and their allies to join them in support of the RFS by submitting personal comments.


To submit comments, click here.


For 2014, the EPA has proposed a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the RFS, the federal law that requires the blending of domestic, renewable, cleaner-burning corn ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. 


”The RFS is an important tool in the nation’s effort to achieve cleaner fuels,” wrote NCGA President Martin Barbre in the opening letter of the comments. “Since the enactment of RFS2 in 2007, corn and corn ethanol production have increased in efficiencies and reduced GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions faster than expected; petroleum production practices have gotten worse.… If the 2014 proposed -volumes come to fruition as proposed by the EPA, this will be in direct violation of the statue and intent of the authors of this critical energy policy.”


The letter goes on to detail the ramifications of the proposed reductions.


“It will lead to a tragic loss of energy security and flexibility while increasing GHG emissions; it will further set back this country’s commitment to the environment and make us more dependent on dirtier petroleum sources than when the RFS was first enacted in 2005. It will also be a great loss in the investments already made by this nation and a multitude of private investors as well as dash future investments in advanced biofuels.”


Noting the analyses in the comments clearly demonstrates that the RFS is achieving the goals intended by its authors, the letter urges the agency to stay the course and support the RFS.


“We request that you reconsider your proposed reduction in the 2014 renewable volume obligations,” the letter concludes. “The continued health of the rural economy and the nation’s environmental improvements hinges upon your decision.”


The comments, which carefully detail a plethora of scientific evidence in support of NCGA’s stance, begin with an executive summary where NCGA lays out the arguments flushed out through the document.


“Energy security is not just about reducing reliance on foreign resources, it is about diversity,” the summary begins. “To only rely on one type of energy resource does not allow flexibility in times of crisis or uncertainty. By investing in renewable biofuels, energy diversity and thus energy security are attained. The authors of the RFS originally intended to invest in renewable energy that decreases GHG emissions, while spurring economic growth in the agricultural sector of the nation.”


Noting that the nation stands at a critical point in demonstrating its ongoing commitment to renewable energy, the document explains that both agriculture and the auto manufacturers have responded to the plan laid out by Congress and the EPA in the RFS. It calls upon the agency to recognize the strides made under this important policy toward increased energy security, environmental improvement and rural development and to then act accordingly in support of the RFS.


To view the full document as submitted, click here.