With less than 48 hours remaining the National Corn Growers Association and other supporters of renewable fuels are urging farmers to submit comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for 2018. While EPA’s suggested RVO numbers have corn-based ethanol at the level intended by Congress, the proposal would lower the cellulosic and advanced biofuel volumes.
“We need to keep a strong Renewable Fuel Standard,” says NCGA president Wesley Spurlock, a Texas corn farmer. “Doing so will yield greater stability and certainty in the marketplace and spur increased investment in renewable fuels.”
Deadline is looming, submit comments now
The proposed EPA volumes equate to a 73-million-gallon reduction for cellulosic ethanol and a 40-million-gallon reduction for total renewable fuel for 2018 compared to 2017. “Cellulosic and advanced biofuels are important to consumers, farmers and environmentalists alike, so we need EPA's support for these fuels,” says Mark Recker, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Farmers can submit comments by going to www.ncga.com/rfs.
The deadline to submit comments to EPA is 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31, notes Cassidy Riley, communications director for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “If you haven’t already submitted your comments to the Environmental Protection Agency, you need to do it ASAP,” she adds.
Growers urged to tell EPA “we need a strong RVO”
“As corn farmers, we want to ensure that the final 2018 RVO numbers continue to expand the cellulosic and advanced biofuel market for two reasons,” says Recker. “These fuels will continue to advance our research and investment in clean-burning, homegrown products and it will also provide an additional market for corn and corn co-products. We need the EPA to look forward and set goals that propel our nation's biofuels production in a growing direction, not leave it stagnant.”
The RVO is set by a federal law, the Renewable Fuel Standard or RFS. It requires domestic, renewable, cleaner-burning ethanol to be blended into the nation's fuel supply. Congress adopted the RFS in 2005 and expanded it in 2007. The program requires oil companies to blend increasing volumes of renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel each year, culminating with 36 billion gallons in 2022.
The RVOs are set annually by EPA to dictate the amount of renewable fuel blended into our nation’s motor fuel supply.
RFS is a very effective energy policy
“The RFS has been one of America's most successful energy policies ever. It has made our air cleaner,” says Recker. “It has spurred investment in rural communities and created high-tech jobs. Today, consumers have more access to affordable, renewable fuel choices than ever before. And it has reduced our dependency on foreign oil. It moves America forward as a leader in clean energy.”
Leaders of NCGA and state corn grower organizations say they will continue to work to grow the renewable fuels market by improving the infrastructure for higher ethanol blends (E15 and E85) and promoting the use of higher blends with automakers, fuel retailers and consumers to gain more demand for corn-based ethanol. “Here in Iowa,” says Recker, “consumers already have access to more fuel options at the pump because of the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership through USDA and the state's Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program.”
Recker adds, “The very foundation of America lies in our rural economies, and the ethanol industry is crucial to future progression and vitality of this nation. Be sure to go online to www.ncga.com/rfs and submit your RVO comment to the EPA.”