Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced they've launched a website. The site allows visitors to sign a petition urging EPA "to reverse its ill-advised rule aimed at eroding the RFS," said Branstad. Comments people submit to the site will be sent to EPA.
Reduction in ethanol mandate would help "Big Oil," and harm Iowans, says Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad
"This issue is critical for our state and its future," Branstad told the crowd of about 150 ethanol supporters gathered at the Lincolnway event, which was open to the public. "The biofuels industry is the livelihood of our people. This is about the profitability of our farmers. This is about quality jobs throughout our state, and it is absolutely wrong for the EPA to cave in to Big Oil."
The oil industry praised the EPA proposal last week, saying EPA for the first time has acknowledged the "blend wall." That is, the limitations on the nation's ability to push consumption of ethanol beyond the E10 or 10% ethanol blend with gasoline, which is now used by most motorists. Increasing the amount of ethanol used per year would require increased use of higher blends such as E15. Automobile manufacturers say E15 and higher blends could damage vehicle engines, but the ethanol industry disputes that.
Eric Hakmiller, CEO of Lincolnway Energy, called EPA's proposal to cut the RFS "misguided and based on old data." If the EPA decision to reduce the RFS is allowed to go into effect, it will affect consumers in the form of higher fuel prices, he said. "Now is the time to stand together and push back against Big Oil, to push back against a future that would have higher gasoline prices, more foreign oil and more dependence on other nations for our energy supply."
Economic vitality, energy independence and investment in next-generation renewable fuels are all at risk
Branstad, Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said Iowa, the nation's largest producer of renewable fuel, could see job reductions with a lower renewable fuel standard. In addition to Iowa's 42 corn grain ethanol plants and 12 biodiesel plants, three cellulosic ethanol plants are under construction, including a $200 million facility DuPont is building next to Lincolnway Energy. The DuPont plant, scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2014, will use cornstalks, cobs and crop residue to produce cellulosic ethanol.