A group of six Midwest governors including Iowa governor Terry Branstad have written a letter to President Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging regulatory action to correct EPA’s proposal cutting 2014 renewables production by 16%. That amount is roughly equivalent to 3 billion gallons and represents a 1.4 billion gallon cut to corn-based ethanol, if implemented.
The governors include Kansas governor Sam Brownback, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, Nebraska governor Dave Heineman, North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple and South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard, along with Branstad. Together they argue that renewable fuels support 400,000 jobs in their combined states. EPA’s proposed reduction, they claim, brings with it a potential 11% cut of 44,500 jobs in that sector.
The governors also cite data from Iowa State University in their assertion that corn prices could drop 19¢ per bushel under the proposed reduction. They argue that kind of price drop brings the price of corn to a level beneath the cost of production for many farmers. The letter also reminds the President of his prior support of renewable fuels.
Governor Terry Branstad has been vocal in his defense of the RFS since EPA put forth its proposed reduction on November 15. One week after the announcement, on November 22, Branstad railed against what he called EPA’s “war on corn” at an event in Nevada organized by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. Almost two weeks later on December 5, Branstad traveled to Washington D.C. with a coalition of Iowa’s renewables industry leaders, both to testify at an EPA hearing and to speak personally with Administrator McCarthy in her office on the impacts of the proposed rule. The following week, on December 12, Branstad, along with Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey, and the entire Iowan congressional delegation, sent a letter to Obama, McCarthy, and Vilsack, urging both EPA and the White House Rural Council to hold a field hearing in Iowa to better understand the impacts of the RFS.
Currently, more than 600 comments have been left on regulation.gov voicing both concern and support for the proposed reduction. If you would like to add your voice to the conversation, leave a comment on regulation.gov and make reference to docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0479.