For months, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise and increase its proposed volume obligations for renewable biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014, 2015 and 2016. After hearing from Grassley and other senators, the EPA released a final rule today that improves the volume requirements over its last proposal but still underestimates the capacity for farmers and ethanol and biodiesel producers to generate enough renewable fuel to meet higher goals. Grassley made the following comment on the final rule.
“This rule is a slight improvement but it still sells biofuels short. The EPA just doesn’t appreciate that farmers and biofuels producers can generate enough renewable fuels to meet the goals set by Congress. The EPA doesn’t seem to appreciate that the law on the books requires strong biofuels targets and that consumers like the chance to use alternate fuels. Instead, the EPA took a flawed approach that seems to buy into Big Oil’s rhetoric. The new rule is not only more than two years late, but it also sets back the development of next generation biofuels. This rule undermines the efforts to commercialize the next generation of biofuels. It’s unfortunate that this Administration, which claims to be for renewable and clean energy, would stand in the way of the production and use of more renewable fuels.”
Branstad, Reynolds release statement on EPA’s final Renewable Fuel Standard rule
(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released statements upon learning of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligation levels for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“I am extremely disappointed that the EPA’s final decision failed to follow the renewable volume levels set by Congress,” said Branstad. “Unfortunately, today’s decision shows the lack of interest in providing consumers choice at the pump, creating jobs and increasing incomes in Rural America, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This rule falls far too short of a robust RFS and short of the standards set by Congress.”
“This entire process has negatively impacted Iowa families through reduced commodity prices, farm incomes, and farmland values,” said Reynolds. “We were hopeful that the EPA would fully recognize the importance of renewable fuels after years of regulatory uncertainty. However, the EPA’s decision only marginally improves volume levels in a step that will hurt Iowa families, businesses, and farmers.”
The State of Iowa has supported both the production and use of biofuels, including renewable fuel infrastructure development through the Fueling Our Future Program and the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, to ensure that consumers have true choices at the pump.
Branstad and Reynolds have been engaged in calling for a strong and robust Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) over the past two years.
Highlights of Iowa leaders’ engagement on the RFS include:
- State and Federal elected officials, including Gov. Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, participated in a “Defend the RFS” event.
- Gov. Branstad traveled to Washington, DC, joining a group of Iowa farmers and biofuels producers, to testify at the Federal government’s only public hearing and met with EPA Administrator McCarthy.
- Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Secretary Bill Northey and the entire Iowa congressional delegation sent a joint letter to Federal leadersadvocating for the many benefits that flow from the RFS.
- Gov. Terry Branstad and Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) penned an op-ed in support of a strong Renewable Fuel Standard.
- Gov. Terry Branstad brought together a bipartisan group of six governors to sign on to a letter to President Barack Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing their support for a strong RFS.
- Leaders from across the Midwest joined Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds for their “Hearing in Heartland,” which was open to all interested citizens; 83 panelists from across the Midwest Region spoke from the heart about the importance of the RFS to their livelihoods and a healthy rural economy while only two individuals expressed opposition to a robust RFS.
- Gov. Branstad, in his Condition of the State address, called on the Iowa Legislature to pass a resolution in support of a robust RFS. The Legislature unanimously passed bicameral, bipartisan resolutions calling for the EPA to reverse course and support a strong RFS. View the resolutions: House Resolution 101 | Senate Resolution 101
- State of Iowa leaders submitted formal comments to the EPA with current data and analysis that provides Federal leaders the opportunity and obligation to revise their initial volume obligations upward.
- Gov. Branstad joined Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO), in testifying at the EPA RFS hearing in Kansas City, Kansas
- Lt. Gov. Reynolds participated in RFS event with Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE)
- State of Iowa leaders again submitted formal comments in 2015 on the EPA’s revised RFS proposed rule
- Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds underscored the importance of the RFS at the grand opening of Dupont’s cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa in October.
IOWA FARM BUREAU DISAPPOINTED BY JUST-ANNOUNCED ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY BIOFUEL TARGETS
Farm Leaders Equate Ruling to a ‘Win’ for Big Oil, at the Expense of the American Farmer
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – November 30, 2015 – The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Iowa’s largest grassroots general farm organization, expressed disappointment in the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) just announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The long-awaited and overdue 2014, 2015 and 2016 targets are years behind schedule and fall short of the agreed-upon levels farmers anticipated. “While an increase of biofuels from the original proposed rule is welcome news, the simple truth is, this falls far short of promises made to Iowa farmers by Congress in 2007. We know the EPA is using a flawed methodology to calculate the biofuels targets, which amounts to a win for Big Oil,” says IFBF President Craig Hill. “What’s worse is this makes it apparent that the EPA under this administration is continuing its pattern of ignoring and violating Congressional intent, at the detriment of farmers and our economy, which is especially troubling in Iowa, where one out of every five jobs comes from agriculture.”
Critics have long argued that lowered RFS/RVO targets translate to a boom for Big Oil, because the industry stalled on distribution solutions which were carefully spelled out in the Energy and Independent Security Act (EISA) passed by the President and Congress in 2007. “Production is there; the technology and innovation to grow biofuels is there, but once again, the EPA continues to disappoint the American farmer,” says Hill, a longtime corn, soybean and livestock farmer. “Just know that IFBF’s support for innovation and energy independence is steadfast. Our work continues.”
Santorum responds to Obama’s biofuels ruling
VERONA, PA – Republican presidential candidate, and proud supporter of the Renewable Fuels Standard, Rick Santorum (R-PA) issued the following statement in response to the Obama Administration’s regulatory overreach targeted at the biofuels industry.
Rick Santorum said: “Today’s decision by the Obama Administration is yet another example of this President using his regulatory power to ignore a clear congressional mandate, and break the law in the process. Let’s be clear, President Obama does not have the authority to change a congressional mandate. I support the ethanol and biofuels industry and stand by the mandate remaining the same because of the importance of supporting domestically produced energy. But regardless of what someone thinks of the RFS, conservatives and all Americans alike, should not stand by this President’s continued abuse of power.”
King Comments on Final RFS Volume Requirements
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve King released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014 through 2016: