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King submits comments to EPA in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard

This news story was published on January 28, 2014.
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WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve King released the following comments he submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy on January 28, to show his support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

“I am writing to express my serious concerns regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed ruling regarding the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS). I represent 39 counties in Iowa, where billions of gallons of ethanol are produced every year– the Congressional district with the most ethanol production nationwide. It is of particular economic importance that this industry be given due consideration, the importance of ethanol as a fuel source be accurately defined, and the negative impact of this ruling be carefully examined. Therefore, it is my responsibility to offer the following facts about ethanol production in America today.

In Iowa, there are 41 ethanol plants that produced 3.8 billion gallons of ethanol in 2013; this accounted for 30 percent of U.S. output. There are 12 biodiesel plants with a rated capacity of 317 million gallons, which produced 230 million gallons of biodiesel in 2013. This amounted to 18 percent of all U.S. biodiesel output. The renewable fuels industry accounted for nearly $5.6 billion, or about 4 percent of Iowa GDP, it generated $4.1 billion of income for Iowa households, and supported 62,000 jobs in Iowa’s economy.

Since the enactment of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the RFS has had tremendous impact on both the agriculture and transportation fuel industry in Iowa. As a result, tens of thousands of jobs have been created, America’s dependence on foreign oil has been dramatically reduced, demand for corn and necessary commodities has increased, and agriculture land values have increased significantly. Also, the RFS has served to conserve fossil fuels and keep carbon dioxide emissions to a minimum. One can thank the ethanol industry for reducing carbon dioxide levels by the equivalent of that emitted by 27 million cars.

The proposed ruling in question would significantly undermine these positive achievements. The proposed 2014 standard is 3 billion gallons less than prescribed by law: an RVO of 15.2 billion gallons. The consequences of this step backward are estimated to be job losses as high as 45,000 nationwide. Such a blow to the ethanol industry will have the effect of decreasing market advantage over petroleum-based fuels. Furthermore, economic development throughout the Midwest, which has been driven by ethanol production, will suddenly slow.

American capital was invested and risked as a result of the promise that the production of ethanol and biofuels through the RFS would be at the forefront of the future of America’s domestic energy production in the United States – through 2022. The promise, stability, and certainty the RFS provides to the biofuels industry are paramount to the benefits it creates for all of America. For example, ethanol producers have managed to save the American taxpayer billions of dollars at the pump. Without certainty (and this ruling throws certainty into question) the economies of scale that allow for these types of savings will no longer be possible.

I respectfully request that the EPA reconsider their proposed rule and reinstate the 18.5 billion gallon requirement for total renewable fuels. This dramatic and unexpected change would deeply damage an important energy industry for America. Thank you for your earnest consideration of this request.”

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