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LETTER: Iowa ag secretary: EPA is 'undermining' RFS

LETTER: Iowa ag secretary: EPA is 'undermining' RFS

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Letters to the Editor

There’s a growing sense of frustration across America’s heartland, and it’s not hard to understand why. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is undermining the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which is hurting farmers, biofuels producers and rural communities across Iowa.

I recently went to Michigan to testify at an EPA hearing on proposed RFS volumes. The law requires that a percentage of the nation’s total fuel supply comes from renewable sources, such as ethanol and biodiesel. Normally, this is great news for Iowa because we are the nation’s leading biofuels producer, generating 4.1 billion gallons of ethanol and 350 million gallons of biodiesel every year.

But the EPA has been “waiving” the law for some refineries, letting them skip out on blending Iowa’s cleaner burning biofuels. Compounding the issue is curious math that could only be concocted in Washington. Instead of using actual numbers of waived gallons, the EPA is proposing to use unfollowed, recommended numbers from the Department of Energy.

This EPA shell game will undermine President Trump’s renewable fuels plan and commitments to Iowa. These decisions have real impacts across the country. Ethanol plants in Iowa have shut down, forcing hundreds of families into economic uncertainty because of the EPA’s failure to uphold our president’s promise.

The renewable fuels industry accounts for more than $5.3 billion — or about 3 percent — of Iowa’s GDP, $2.5 billion in household incomes and more than 48,000 jobs in our state. We have too much to lose to sit by and watch the EPA make reckless decisions that harm thousands of Iowa families.

A Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule that upholds President Trump’s 15 billion gallon commitment will spark market demand. It will give biofuels blenders confidence that they can resume production, encourage fueling stations to invest in E15 pumps, and boost job opportunities in rural America.

The EPA’s comment period on this issue is now open. I would encourage all Iowans to submit their thoughts, informing the EPA that the rules need to uphold the 15 billion gallon agreement.

Harvest is typically a season of celebration for farmers. But this year, farmers are already facing historic flooding, inclement weather, and trade tensions. Now, they have more stress and fewer chances to sell their grain. This RVO formula does not work for American families and it shouldn’t work for the EPA. Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture

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