Missouri Corn: EPA Caves to Oil Interests
(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.)--Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) members are extremely disappointed with today's proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to decrease Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The proposal would reduce conventional biofuel requirements, mostly sourced from corn-based ethanol, from the statutorily required 14.4 billion gallons to 13 billion gallons. The environmental agency also proposed lower requirements for advanced biofuels and cellulosic biofuel. According to reports, EPA is considering this reduction in conventional biofuels due to hitting the so-called "blend wall" by saturating the E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline) market and lacking infrastructure to distribute higher blends of ethanol.
"The standards set by the RFS were approved in 2007, giving the oil industry ample opportunity to increase ethanol infrastructure and embrace higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85," notes Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) President Jim Stuever of Dexter, Mo. "Big Oil's resistance to consumer choice and American-made ethanol is no excuse to move our nation backward in the quest for increased energy security."
Adopted by Congress in 2005 and expanded in 2007, the RFS calls for increasing amount of low carbon renewable fuel to be blended into our nation's fuel supply over time, reaching 15 billion gallons by 2015. The RFS was designed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and increase the nation's renewable fuel supply. Since inception, it was clear ethanol inclusion would surpass a 10 percent blend level.
"Everyone involved, from the administration, to ethanol producers, to the oil industry, knew at some point we would have to move to higher blends," MCGA CEO Gary Marshall added. "This is no surprise and to think otherwise is laughable. Caving to these misconceptions only adds to oil profits and almost guarantees higher prices at the pump for consumers."
The ethanol industry is a significant driver to the Missouri's economy by creating jobs, generating tax dollars and increasing vitality of rural communities. Combined, the state's corn and ethanol industries contributed $12 billion in economic value, $5.3 billion in labor income and $2.2 billion paid in local, state and federal taxes from 2000-2011.
"In order to expand renewable fuels and decrease reliance on foreign oil sources, we must maintain the original levels established," Stuever said. "Corn-based ethanol continues to play a vital role in increasing our energy security and moving away from imported oil. We will continue to fight for the betterment of our communities, consumers and country."
A final decision is expected on the proposal following a 60-day comment period.