BY LIZ ZABEL | IOWA ENERGY CENTER
On Jan. 15, 2014 a group of Iowa congressmen and a few lawmakers from Minnesota and Illinois met with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) after the EPA’s proposal to reduce the standard in November. The meeting followed Gov. Terry Branstad’s (R-IA) annual Condition of the State address on Jan. 14, in which he called for a ‘coordinated campaign’ to preserve the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The EPA’s proposal recognized the limits of the “blend wall,” saying the levels originally laid out by Congress in 2007 are unrealistic. The proposal intends to move the RFS on a “steady path forward” but recognizes the “practical limits” on ethanol blending.
Iowa’s bipartisan congressional delegation (three Deomacrats and three Republicans), as a whole, supports the RFS mandate. The group’s goal was to explain to McCarthy how a lower mandate could impact their constituents, for example, on the prices of corn and soybeans and on biofuel production facilities in Iowa that are still developing. According to Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), a reduction of the RFS would have devestating effects on Iowa’s farmers, rural community, and economy. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) said, “It is unlikely that efforts to repeal or substantially weaken [the RFS] will gain much traction anytime soon.” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said there are a lot of members in the House and Senate “who understand the value of the Renewable Fuel Standard and will continue to fight to protect it.”
The meeting and other actions from industry and political leaders are part of a broader effort to maintain the current RFS. Learn more about why the EPA is considering the proposal and why others are pushing back from our post about “The Battle of the Blends.”
The EPA will continue to accept public comments until Jan. 28, with plans to finalize the ruling by February. Individuals interested in submitting comments to the EPA should reference Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0479. Comments can be submitted by any of the following methods:
- www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.
- Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.
Iowa congressmen meet today with EPA leader on RFS mandate, Des Moines Register
Ethanol mandate unlikely to face repeal, Argus Leader