Corn, fuels coalition launches RFS ethanol defense campaign

With time winding down on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) comment period to consider a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) waiver, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) joined forces with a coalition of advanced and traditional renewable fuel stakeholders to launch a campaign to defend RFS. The new coalition, Fuels America, said an RFS ethanol waiver would have serious consequences for America’s rural communities, renewable technology innovators and energy independence.

EPA) extended the comment period – until Oct. 11 – on petitions seeking the volume waiver. Two state governors filed official petitions, and food and livestock organizations sent letters requesting the waiver. Due to expectations the U.S. corn crop will be sharply diminished by the drought, the groups said the mandate – requiring 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be blended with gasoline this year, rising to 13.8 billion gallons next year – would lead to an insufficient supply of corn available for food and livestock feed, at higher prices.

If a waiver is granted, it can last no longer than one year, but may be renewed. Visit www.epa.gov/oms/fuels/renewablefuels/notices.htm.

“In joining Fuels America, NCGA joins a broad spectrum of renewable fuel stakeholders to increase the effectiveness of our efforts in the defense of ethanol and other biofuels,” said NCGA president Garry Niemeyer, a farmer from Auburn, Ill. “Corn farmers support ethanol and other biofuels not only because they are essential to the continued growth of rural economies but also because they play an essential role in ensuring the future of our nation. Domestically produced, renewable fuels create American jobs and increase national energy independence. Renewable fuels are a win-win solution to many of the energy problems facing our nation, and we believe that it is our duty to bring this truth to our representatives in Washington and to citizens across the country.”

“Fuels America is built around one core idea: Renewable fuel is essential to the U.S. economy, our nation’s energy security, our rural communities and the environment,” said former Congressman Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. “More than 400,000 American jobs are supported by renewable transportation fuel, and America leads the world in renewable fuel innovation. That is why Fuels America’s diverse membership has come together to reset the national conversation on renewable fuel, protect the progress that has been made and ensure that America’s Renewable Fuel Standard continues its success.”

In addition to NCGA, Fuels America members include 25x25, Abengoa Bioenergy , ACORE, Advanced Ethanol Council, American Coalition for Ethanol, American Security Project, Biotechnology Industry Organization, DuPont, Growth Energy, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, Novozymes, POET and the Renewable Fuels Association.

The Fuels America campaign will be a national effort, including advertising, beginning in Washington and several states, including Colorado, Ohio, Delaware and Montana. Each state will have its own online platform reachable through FuelsAmerica.org and feature the stories of renewable fuel innovators and communities with a stake in maintaining the RFS.

Members of the Fuels America coalition also stressed that renewable fuel plays a central role in increasing America’s energy independence. Since 2000, domestically-grown renewable fuel has contributed to a 25 percent reduction in oil imports from the Persian Gulf, making the nation more energy independent and driving down prices at the pump. Americans saved $50 billion on imported fuel costs in 2011 thanks to renewable fuel.

Coalition members noted that the rapidly emerging advanced renewable fuel sector has benefited directly from the RFS, with advanced facilities now producing fuel in Florida, Louisiana, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

For more information, visit FuelsAmerica.org.