Ethanol and biodiesel supporters have come out swinging to defend their industry. They are mounting an all-out effort to try to persuade the Obama Administration to reverse its proposal to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced it wants to reduce the amount of corn-based ethanol required to be mixed into the nation's gasoline supply in 2014. Iowa, the leading state in production of biofuels, has a lot at stake.
Iowa farm groups, state political leaders, and the ethanol and biodiesel industry have united to form the Iowa RFS Coalition. They face a daunting task in trying to get EPA to backtrack on its recently announced decision to propose reducing the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Iowa coalition along with other ethanol advocates across the nation must rebuff a powerful lobbying campaign funded by the oil industry which is pushing EPA to lower or eliminate the RFS mandate. Also, some members of Congress say they support reducing or even completely doing away with the RFS.
EPA wants to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard; Iowa officials speak out against the EPA proposal
On November 15, EPA released its proposal to cut by 3 billion gallons the amount of renewable fuels that would be blended into the U.S. fuel supply in 2014. The proposal includes reducing the use of corn-based ethanol by 1.4 billion gallons. One week later, on November 22, the Iowa RFS Coalition held a "Defend the RFS" rally at Lincolnway Energy, an ethanol plant at Nevada, Iowa.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Congressman Steve King and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley were among a number of speakers at the "Defend the RFS" event. They said they will fight EPA's decision, including challenging it in court, if necessary. The proposal to reduce the RFS is open to a 60-day public comment period. Thus, opponents of the EPA proposal have 60 days to try to convince EPA to reverse its decision. After gathering comments, EPA is expected to make a final decision and finalize the rule sometime in spring 2014.