Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) levels for conventional, advanced and cellulosic biofuels for 2019 and biodiesel for 2020. The comment period on the proposed levels runs through Aug. 17, 2018.
“A strong RFS that follows the law is critically important to ensuring market access for ethanol and biodiesel and to giving consumers additional fuel choices at the pump. I will reiterate to acting Administrator Wheeler when he visits Iowa next week the need to support the RFS, allow year-round sale of E15 and end the small-refinery waivers that have cut ethanol demand by 1.5 billion gallons over the past two years.”
Naig’s full comments follow here:
Acting Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler
Office of the Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
RE: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0167
Dear Administrator Wheeler:
On behalf of the Iowa agriculture industry I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard levels for conventional, advanced and cellulosic biofuels for 2019 and biodiesel for 2020.
Iowa’s economy is based on agriculture. We are a national leader in the production of corn, soybeans, ethanol and biodiesel. Our farmers, communities and state rely on consistent and expanding markets for the products that we grow so well. As a result, I urge you to maintain or increase the Renewable Fuels Standard levels in 2019 and beyond in the proposed rule.
Our renewable fuels industry has the capacity to annually produce 4.4 billion gallons of ethanol, including 55 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol and 400 million gallons of biodiesel. This production requires more than one billion bushels of corn. This industry supports nearly 47,000 Iowa jobs and is responsible for $5 billion of Iowa’s GDP.
The Renewable Fuel Standard has been a resounding win for the state of Iowa and the nation, resulting in greater energy independence, cleaner air and stronger rural and urban communities. Moreover, it benefits consumers who want more affordable fuel choices that give us a cleaner environment. We must protect the RFS. It is critically important that EPA uphold the renewable volume obligation levels intended by Congress and supported by President Trump.
With the ongoing trade uncertainty and more than 5 years of declining farm income, our farmers and communities need a strong RFS and an end to the recent demand destruction for corn and renewable fuels due to numerous small-refinery waivers. Moreover, the EPA is long overdue to lift the restriction on the year round sale of E15 and higher ethanol blends. We must have consistent, fair and open markets for our products.
While the proposed RFS rule appears positive by increasing levels of biofuels and biodiesel, our producers need the EPA to uphold its commitment to these levels. The small-refinery waivers have already cut ethanol demand by more than 1.5 billion gallons. We simply cannot afford for this to continue. This is not within the letter or spirit of the RFS.
The final rule should follow Congressional intent and work for our producers, not against them.
It is a challenging time in the Iowa agriculture industry and it is critically important we continue to have a robust RFS to ensure we have a strong renewable fuels industry. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to comment.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture