Corn farmers plan Capitol Hill rally for the RFS tomorrow

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Corn farmers tomorrow plan to hold a rally on Capitol Hill in support of the renewable fuel standard.

The rally organized by the National Corn Growers Association will feature speeches by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). The corn growers group said it expects more than 250 corn farmers to appear.

The rally is a part of NCGA’s 2015 Corn Congress, an event where corn farmers gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss policy. On Thursday, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to speak to the gathering.

Congress passed the renewable fuel standard in 2007 to encourage greater use of both corn ethanol and advanced biofuels such as cellulosic biofuel and biodiesel. EPA is working toward a Nov. 30 deadline to finalize proposed biofuel requirements through the program for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Corn growers and ethanol producers have criticized the proposal, arguing that it underestimates their expected production for the three years. EPA proposed yearly increases in the targets for ethanol and advanced biofuels, but the requirements would fall short of the levels that Congress wrote into the renewable fuel standard in 2007.

The rally will focus on EPA’s proposal, as well as urge Congress to leave the program in place, according to a flier. It will be held near the U.S. Capitol.

Supporters of the RFS held a rally earlier this month in Kansas City, Kan., in the middle of a daylong public hearing on the EPA proposal. The NCGA is also collecting comments opposed to the proposal from both farmers and non-farmers to submit directly to the agency.

“We will raise our voices as loud as necessary in defense of ethanol and the RFS,” NCGA President Chip Bowling told EPA at the Kansas City hearing. Bowling will also speak at tomorrow’s rally.