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Statement From ICGA President Bob Hemesath On EPA's Proposed 2017 Renewable Volume Obligations

May 18, 2016

While the U.S. Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) moved in a more favorable direction today, we are disappointed that the agency chose to set the 2017 number well below the statute.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal law that requires domestic, renewable, cleaner burning ethanol to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. It has been one of America’s most successful energy policies ever. RVOs are set annually by EPA to dictate the amount of renewable fuel blended into our fuel.

The RFS is working for America. It has made our air cleaner. It has spurred investment in rural communities and created high-tech jobs. It has given drivers more choices at the gas pump. And it has reduced our dependency on foreign oil. Any reduction in the statutory amount takes America backward – destabilizing our environment, our economy, and our energy security.

Today, the EPA set the proposed 2017 RVO’s set at 18.8 total billion gallons. The EPA today capped the conventional corn ethanol number at 14.8, below the number outlined by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The EPA still cites the lack of infrastructure as the rationale behind keeping the conventional ethanol targets below the 15 billion gallon statutory level.

While EPA seems to be taking the comments we as farmers have submitted in the past more seriously and we appreciate the timelier release on this rule, we still have serious concerns about the wavier methodology EPA continues to rely on.

Iowa Corn will continue to grow the renewable fuel market by trying to improve the infrastructure for higher blends (E15 and E85) and also promoting the use of higher blends with automakers, fuel retailers and consumers to gain more demand for corn-based ethanol. Here in Iowa, consumers already have access to more fuel options at the pump because of the Biofuels Infrastructure Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This program is providing $5 million in matching grants which will give Iowa drivers more than 100 new blender pumps to fuel up with higher blends of ethanol. Our state is doing our part to meet the requirements under the RFS and so should the oil companies.

ICGA will be activating our members this summer to engage during the public comment period and make their voices heard. Farmers, and everyone who supports farmers should take this opportunity to tell EPA how the RFS has impacted their lives.  Cleaner air, reduced fuel costs, national security, and a robust rural economy are just a few of the benefits we will be discussing with EPA

For More Information:

Shannon Textor
Director of Marketing and Communications
Iowa Corn Growers Association

Lisa Cassady
Public Relations Manager
Iowa Corn Growers Association

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