Iowa leaders send letter to President Obama, EPA Administrator McCarthy on proposed RFS rule

Written by Theresa Rose on July 27, 2015

Comments are sent ahead of the comment deadline tonight

(DES MOINES) – Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation Paul Trombino and Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Chuck Gipp today sent a letter to President Obama and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy encouraging the administration to revise their ill-advised proposed rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and submitted comments to the EPA in support of a robust RFS. The comments were sent today, July 27, 2015, the final day the EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule regarding the RFS volume obligation levels. The comment period ends at 11:59 p.m. ET tonight. Iowans interested in commenting on the proposed rule can do so here.

In the letter to Obama and McCarthy, Iowa leaders write, “As state leaders, we are keenly focused on helping create a business and public policy environment that drives job growth throughout the State – in communities both large and small, urban and rural. We share the concerns of many Iowans and citizens throughout the Midwest that the EPA’s current proposal will undermine our shared goal of a healthy economy in rural America and abandon the various public policy benefits that flow from the RFS. For decades, the agricultural economy lurched from crisis to crisis and farmers often depended on government subsidies to stay afloat. The RFS helped brighten the future of the agricultural and biosciences sectors by providing a stable policy framework that gives value-add opportunities for various agricultural commodities, while helping reduce transportation emissions – a true win-win.”

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“If the EPA’s proposed rule stands, consumers across America would be limited in their choices at the pump. When consumers have choices, like they do in Iowa, they choose ethanol and other biofuels. The oil companies are preventing fuel choice in other parts of the country and consumers lose, paying much more for fuel. The Iowa Department of Revenue tracks biofuels sales and the data is clear – when given the choice, Iowans choose biofuels. Consumer purchases of E85 (85 percent denatured ethanol fuel and 15 percent gasoline) in Iowa continue to increase – growing from 9.12 million gallons in 2012 to 11.15 million gallons in 2013, to 12.08 million gallons in 2014 – a growth of nearly 33% in that period according to Iowa Department of Revenue data. Total B100 (100 percent biodiesel) sales in Iowa have expanded from 7.4 million gallons in 2010 to 33.3 million gallons in 2014. In 2010, the average blend level of biodiesel-blended gallons sold in Iowa was 3.1 percent and by 2014, the average blend level had more than tripled to 9.4 percent. Big Oil does not like competition – but American consumers deserve and demand choices at the fuel pump.”

The full letter to President Obama and Administrator McCarthy can be read here.

Highlights of Iowa leaders’ engagement on the RFS include:

State and Federal elected officials, including Gov. Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, participated in a “Defend the RFS” event.
Gov. Branstad traveled to Washington, DC, joining a group of Iowa farmers and biofuels producers, to testify at the Federal government’s only public hearing and met with EPA Administrator McCarthy.
Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Secretary Bill Northey and the entire Iowa congressional delegation sent a joint letter to Federal leaders advocating for the many benefits that flow from the RFS.
Gov. Terry Branstad and Gov. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) penned an op-ed in support of a strong Renewable Fuel Standard.
Gov. Terry Branstad brought together a bipartisan group of six governors to sign on to a letter to President Barack Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing their support for a strong RFS.
Leaders from across the Midwest joined Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds for their “Hearing in Heartland,” which was open to all interested citizens; 83 panelists from across the Midwest Region spoke from the heart about the importance of the RFS to their livelihoods and a healthy rural economy while only two individuals expressed opposition to a robust RFS.
Gov. Branstad, in his Condition of the State address, called on the Iowa Legislature to pass a resolution in support of a robust RFS. The Legislature unanimously passed bicameral, bipartisan resolutions calling for the EPA to reverse course and support a strong RFS. View the resolutions: House Resolution 101 | Senate Resolution 101
State of Iowa leaders submitted formal comments to the EPA with current data and analysis that provides Federal leaders the opportunity and obligation to revise their initial volume obligations upward.
Gov. Branstad and Sec. Northey testify in support of a robust RFS before the EPA’s hearing in Kansas City.
Lt. Gov. Reynolds submits written testimony to the EPA in support of a robust RFS.
Lt. Gov. Reynolds rallies for a robust RFS with Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts in Blair, Neb.