Ricketts says new ethanol quota too low

Source: By Steve Jordan, Omaha World Herald • Posted: Friday, May 20, 2016

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Corn Board chairman joined a chorus of officials from corn-producing states Thursday saying a proposed ethanol quota next year is too low.

Ricketts said in a press release that the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 2017 renewable fuel standard, 14.8 billion gallons, would fall below the 15 billion-gallon level required by federal law.

The lower standard, the governor said, would “negatively impact Nebraska and other Midwestern states by creating uncertainty for companies who are investing in our communities and bringing the jobs we need to continue to make our state the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family.”

He said the Obama administration should reconsider the proposed standard. Other officials, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, also have said the quota should be raised.

David Merrell, a farmer from St. Edward and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, said reducing the renewable fuel standard “takes America backward, destabilizing our energy security.”

Merrell said the standard has reduced dependence on imported oil, brought investments to rural areas, given drivers more fuel choices and resulted in cleaner air.

Wednesday’s announcement of biofuel quotas was seen as a compromise between the interests of Corn Belt states and oil companies.

An American Petroleum Institute official said Wednesday that the proposed ethanol requirement was too high and would force consumers to buy ethanol-blended gasoline that can damage small engines.