OUR OPINION: Is more EPA delay on RFS a good sign?

Source: Sioux City Journal Editorial Board • Posted: Wednesday, December 3, 2014

While another delay by the Environmental Protection Agency in making a decision about the Renewable Fuel Standard creates frustrating uncertainty within the renewables industry, we hope it also signals a change in EPA position.

Created in 2005, the federal RFS requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. be blended with a minimum volume of renewable fuels, such as corn-based ethanol. Late last year, the EPA proposed to reduce the requirement by three billion gallons.

In response, the renewable-fuel industry and its supporters, including farm-state congressional leaders, launched an aggressive campaign of opposition. The EPA received nearly 200,000 comments opposed to its RFS proposal.

Last month, the EPA announced it wouldn’t finalize a new rule for the RFS until sometime next year.

“The proposal has generated significant comment and controversy, particularly about how volumes should be set,” the EPA said. “Accordingly, we intend to take action on the 2014 standards rule in 2015 prior to or in conjunction with action on the 2015 standards rule.”

Without question, the proposal to reduce the RFS would hurt agriculture states. In Iowa, the number-one producer of ethanol in America, the ethanol industry supports tens of thousands of jobs and accounts for billions of dollars in GDP, for example.

Ethanol is good for America, too. In addition to creating jobs and economic activity, clean-burning ethanol is helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

For the good not simply of states like Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, but America as a whole, we do not wish to see RFS requirements reduced and believe biofuels should remain a key component in national energy policy.

We view the new EPA delay as a sign opponents of a reduction in the RFS are making an impact.

We encourage members of Congress from Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, including new Senators Joni Ernst, Ben Sasse, and Mike Rounds, to keep up the pressure in support of the renewable-fuels industry in strong, united fashion next year.

Standing up to powerful oil interests who want the RFS reduced demands nothing less.