Lobbying blitz as EPA weighs ethanol policy

Source: By James Osborne, Houston Chronicle • Posted: Thursday, June 8, 2017

 With the Trump administration readying to make its first foray into U.S. ethanol policy, the biofuels industry is not sitting by quietly.

In a new report released by the Renewable Fuels Association Wednesday, ethanol producers want to remind EPAAdministrator Scott Pruitt just how consequential a part of the Midwestern economy ethanol production has become over the last decade.

Looking back to 2005, when former President George W. Bush signed what has become known as the ethanol mandate into law, the RFA reports the following gains:

Ethanol plants: 2005 (81), 2016 (213)

Ethanol jobs: 2005 (153,725), 2016 (339,176)

U.S. corn production in bushels: 2005 (11.1 billion), 2016 (15.2 billion)

The report comes as oil lobbyists and Republicans from oil rich states like Texas continue to press the administration to freeze the ethanol mandate.

But the RFA, as well as Midwestern politicians of both parties, argue that ethanol has become a vital part of the national economy that must be supported by the federal government.

“With EPA expected to propose its 2018 RFS obligations in the near future, the agency needs to look no further than this document for what impact this vital program has had on our nation,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “We look forward to EPA continuing to implement a strong RFS to ensure future growth for our industry and the positive impact it has throughout all sectors of our economy.”