This week, Fuels America is continuing to drive home the message that America’s Heartland strongly support policies that strengthen rural economies, not put foreign oil interests ahead of Rural America.
This is on the heels of the June 25th Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing in Kansas City, where hundreds of corn growers and renewable fuel supporters testified, calling on the EPA to maintain the congressional intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Advocates and farmers also hosted a Rally for Rural America in a nearby park to speak out against the EPA’s decision to put foreign oil ahead of rural America by slashing billions of gallons in biofuels from the RFS. More than 450 were in attendance, it was reported.
Governors, farmers, small business owners, investors, students and families from across the Midwest sent a clear message to the EPA last week: The Renewable Fuel Standard is working for Rural America.
The EPA's proposed changes to the RFS strengthen the oil industry's monopoly over the gas pump and put American family farmers, workers and rural economies at risk. After ten years, the RFS is helping family farmers and American innovators power a clean, secure domestic energy future for our nation. We can't afford to turn back on that progress now.
Governors Terry Branstad (R-IA) and Jay Nixon (D-MO) joined the Rally for Rural America, which served as a venue for RFS advocates attending or testifying at the EPA hearing to voice their strong support for the RFS as intended, and their concerns with the proposal. Over 250 people testified at the actual EPA hearing, and despite the fact that the timing of the hearing made it challenging for growers to leave their farms, around 230 of those signed up to testify advocated for the EPA to finalize much stronger rules that are consistent with the spirit and intent of the RFS.
Gov. Branstad said, “The EPA has a choice – protect the deep pockets of Big Oil and their monopolistic practices or nurture consumer choice, renewable energy growth and a healthy rural economy. Unless you advance a robust RFS, you will constrain growth in the rural economy, negatively impacting family farms, agri-business and the biofuels industries, and the citizens and businesses that are part of our nation’s rural fabric.”
He added, “The EPA’s decision will affect the lives of many Iowans, Midwesterners and consumers nationwide. I hope that the EPA shows Midwesterners that the Federal Government has not abandoned its commitment to a robust RFS and revitalizing rural America.”
In Gov. Nixon’s testimony, he said, “The federal government made a commitment to our farmers, and our farmers have worked hard to meet that commitment by growing the corn needed to keep up with the ethanol demands. Breaking that now would harm our economy, our rural communities, and our environment.”
He also said, “Using more ethanol and less gasoline reduces greenhouse gas, decreases our dependency on foreign oil, keeps gas prices low, and supports rural communities. Breaking our commitment to rural communities is simply not an option. We must stay the course, keep our commitments, and work together to produce American-made ethanol, which will result in cleaner skies, a stronger economy, and a bright and more prosperous future for our farms, our families and Rural America.”
Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, testified that, “We see the RFS as a modern American success story that has created jobs, revitalized rural America, injected much-needed competition into the vehicle fuels market, lowered the price at the pump, improved the environment, and made our nation more energy independent.
“However, EPA’s latest RVO proposal to waive the statutory renewable volume obligations would eviscerate the promise of the RFS. It would cause severe harm to farmers, the biofuels industry and the nation’s economy. This proposal is already creating great uncertainty for farmers and other industry investors.
“Now is the time for EPA to move the RFS forward, not backward. EPA has the opportunity to use its authority to continue the implementation of a successful policy that has been a win-win for our nation and its citizens. They should not squander that opportunity to placate Big Oil at the expense of the American taxpayer.”