6 Midwestern governors urge EPA to reconsider renewable fuel targets

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The governors of six Midwestern states are warning that U.S. EPA’s recent proposal to roll back the nation’s renewable fuel mandates could set off a negative economic ripple effect beginning in rural America.

Last month’s proposal could put nearly 45,000 jobs at risk, cause incomes to fall and lead to decreased economic development in rural communities, the governors wrote Friday to President Obama. EPA proposed requiring refiners to blend 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuels into petroleum-based gasoline and diesel next year, a reduction of 2.94 billion gallons from the target set by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

“This proposed rule would greatly hinder our states’ efforts to foster policies that create jobs, grow family income and revitalize our economies,” the governors say in the letter, which was also sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who is an outspoken critic of EPA’s action, leads the effort. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D), Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R), North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) — all of whom have large ethanol industries in their states — signed the letter.

The governors urge EPA to increase its targets for advanced biofuels and to set the target for overall renewable fuels at the level required by the 2007 statute.

EPA is facing criticism from biofuels producers and oil refiners alike for its proposal (E&ENews PM, Nov. 15). The agency is taking public comments and is aiming to finalize the rule in February.

Click here to read the letter.