LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska ag groups decried the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to lower the target for conventional ethanol blended fuel in 2017 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to 14.8 billion gallons. If adopted, this proposal would fall below the level of 15 billion gallons dictated in federal law.
“Once again, the EPA is proposing to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard and to break their promise to the American people,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “Continued efforts to lower the RFS will 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. I urge the Obama Administration to reconsider their proposed reduction, and to keep their promise on the RFS to the American people.”
Last summer, Governor Ricketts and Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds rallied Nebraskans and Iowans in support of the RFS to oppose reductions to the RFS by the EPA. In December, the EPA finalized their rule for 2014-16, which cut the RFS by less than originally proposed, but still fell short of the original targets in federal law.
“The biofuel blending levels announced by EPA today fall far short of statutory requirements,” said Ethanol Board Administrator Todd Sneller. “While the renewable volume obligations reflect an increase from the 2016 requirements, they do not reflect the capability of biofuel producers to produce at levels that allow an orderly expansion of renewable fuel in the nation’s fuel supply. As a result, the economic potential of biofuel production is not fully realized by either producers or consumers of transportation fuels.”
Sneller also pointed out that more than 20 states are actively adding infrastructure to expand the use of biodiesel and ethanol fuels. The expanded infrastructure is designed to make biofuels more readily available across the nation during a period when fuel sales are projected to increase. The EPA volume targets effectively undermine a private sector drive to expand biofuel production and marketing.
“The Renewable Fuel Standard is doing exactly what it was intended to do for America,” said David Merrell, farmer from St. Edward and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “It has reduced our dependency on imported oil by providing a homegrown, locally-produced renewable fuel, spurred investment in our rural communities, provided drivers with more choices at the pump, and has helped make our air cleaner. Any reduction in the statutory amount takes America backward – destabilizing our energy security.”
The EPA is expected to hold a field hearing on the proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard in Kansas City on June 9, 2016.