AmericanFarm.com

EPA’s shuffle makes no sense (Editorial)

(July 28, 2015) We admit it. We are confused.
The Environmental Protection Agency wants to reduce the renewable fuel standard for corn. That simply does not make much sense.
An enforced reduction in ethanol production appears to run strongly against the EPA’s usual and assigned covenant.
More than 300 corn farmers and ethanol industry leaders joined members of Congress on Capitol Hill on July 15 at a rally, summoned by the National Corn Growers Association, calling attention to the Renewable Fuel Standard and the EPA’s attempt to wilt it.
The Renewable Fuel Standard is one of the most successful energy policies ever enacted in the United States.
According to the NCGA, it generates jobs, revives rural economies, reduces oil imports, lowers gasoline prices, reduces air pollution, and cuts greenhouse gas emissions.
Note here: Reduces air pollution and cuts greenhouse gas emissions. Standard EPA fodder.
Despite these benefits, in 2015 the EPA proposed to cut the volume of corn ethanol in the fuel supply by 3.75 billion gallons through 2016.
These proposed changes to the RFS, the NCGA alleges, would not only affect farmers and the renewable fuels industry, it would also negatively impact consumers, our environment, and the rural economy.
The NCGA declares that “a sustainable domestic fuel supply is crucial to our national security.
“Every gallon of higher-octane renewable ethanol produced equates to one less gallon of higher-cost gasoline we source from foreign, non-renewable fossil fuels. The RFS has helped the U.S. reduce its dependency on foreign oil by nearly half and enables us to utilize a resource grown right here at home,” the NCGA says.
The ethanol industry, the corn growers continue, “supports nearly 400,000 American jobs and produces $57.2 billion of economic output per year.”
Further, the NCGA says, ethanol has become “a foundation for rural economic growth.”
The industry has invested billions of dollars to produce and deliver renewable fuels to consumers.
“The EPA’s proposal discourages further investment in the industry, threatening the development of advanced and cellulosic biofuels. It would also impact the $10.3 billion in tax revenue that goes toward schools, roads, and first responders.”
Then, right out of the EPA’s backyard: “The RFS has been a resounding success in reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions. It was designed to lower greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2022. We quickly surpassed this goal and are approaching 50 percent in reductions.
“Globally, ethanol has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 100 million metric tons annually — the equivalent of taking more than 20 million vehicles off the road.”
Where is the EPA coming from on this?
Where’s the pressure coming from to so aggressively and so openly violate its own credo?
NCGA officials believe it is paying its dues to what it calls Big Oil.
Big Oil, according to NCGA, is telling the ethanol industry and other biofuels coming out of their infancy it needs to be reminded not to get too big for its britches.
The EPA’s proposed order is now in a 90-day comment period. Presumably, the EPA will then make it official. If so, the NCGA will take it to court.
That’s where we could get some answers.