Comment: Iowa must fight EPA proposal on RFS

Source: By U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, Mason City Globe • Posted: Monday, June 22, 2015

Iowa’s congressional delegation is gearing up for another lobbying campaign in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Good for them.

Created in 2005, the federal RFS requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to be blended with a minimum volume of renewable fuels.

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to lower the RFS for this year and next year by a combined nine billion gallons below the levels set by Congress because it doesn’t believe the biofuels industry can meet the more aggressive targets.

“The frustrating fact is the agency continues to misunderstand the clear intent of the statute — to drive innovation in both ethanol production and ethanol marketing,” said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, echoed Dinneen.

“It’s Christmas in May for Big Oil,” Grassley said in a statement after the EPA announcement. “President Obama’s EPA continues to buy into Big Oil’s argument that the infrastructure isn’t in place to handle the fuel volumes required by law. Big Oil’s obstruction and the EPA’s delays and indecision have harmed biofuel producers and delayed infrastructure developments.”

We join in support of keeping the RFS at levels set by Congress and believe the industry will meet them if RFS uncertainty is removed.

In addition to creating jobs and economic activity for agriculture states such as Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, the renewable fuels industry is helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the nation and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

In a statement last week, Grassley encouraged Iowans to comment on the EPA proposal.

“The EPA doesn’t have a good idea of what’s happening in biofuels,” Grassley said. “… The EPA needs to hear from the people who produce ethanol and biodiesel every day and have the will and the capacity to produce even more.”

The EPA will take public comments on its proposal through July 27 and expects to make a final decision this fall. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy last week, Iowa’s congressional delegation pushed for a public EPA hearing on the RFS in our state.

“Iowa … is the center of ethanol production and that’s where they should be,” Grassley said. “Why they aren’t, I don’t know.”

We join members of our state’s congressional delegation in calling for a hearing in Iowa and urge them to remain aggressive in support of the RFS.

Because Iowa ranks first in the nation for ethanol production and second for biodiesel production, no one state would suffer the impact of EPA’s misguided proposal more than ours.

— By the Sioux City Journal, like the Globe Gazette a Lee Enterprises newspaper